What parents need to know about Omegle
What is it?
Omegle is an online chat platform that connects a user with random strangers from all around the world. After login, the app pairs the user with a ”Stranger” based on shared subjects of interest. They can chat together privately through text, video, or using a built-in microphone. A user has two options to video chat: monitored chats and unmonitored. In monitored conversations, a moderator filters out explicit content to reduce the risk of exposure to vulgarity. If a user chooses to enter an unmonitored chat, they will come across whatever kind of content the stranger posts.
Users can enter ‘Spy Mode’ in Omegle. In this mode, they can ask a question to two people engaged in a chat and view their conversation, but can not actively take part in it. Alternately, Spy Mode also allows a user to discuss with another person a question posed by a stranger.
Although users are given anonymous nicknames when entering a chat, they can give out their real name, age, location, phone number, and other personal information in the chat.
OMEGLE’s website states “predators have been known to use OMEGLE, so please be safe.”
Is it appropriate for children?
OMEGLE is not an app that children should use, because of the high risks to safety, privacy, and well-being.
Sexual predators can take advantage of the anonymity and engage in conversations with minors, exposing them to inappropriate content and groom them. Over the years, the app has become more and more controversial after several crimes (men meeting girls from the app) were reported.
Teens also expose themselves to cyberbullying while using it, as in video chats some people insult or harass others. Although the chats are said to be private, Omegle has an option to link a Facebook account to the app and share text conversations with friends.
The risk of revealing too much personal information, intentionally or not, is also significant, as anonymous conversations and people are unpredictable.
How to protect children on Omegle
Minors should not use Omegle. There is no practical way to protect them when talking to strangers or prevent their exposure to content and experiences that could be inappropriate for their age or level of maturity.
Parents should take extreme caution when deciding if their kids should use this app. They should teach children to not reveal personal information or meet with strangers from the app and use parental control to monitor their activity in the app.
Safety should be first when it comes to children, and with apps like Omegle, it is even more difficult to achieve.
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