Is your tween or teen using the Omegle website? I just came across it recently and I’ve been looking into what it’s all about. Omegle is what is called a “chatroulette” website, it hooks you up with a random stranger to chat. So here’s what parents need to know about Omegle.
Sign up for our free monthly newsletter stuffed full of ideas, competitions and offers. PS Did we mention it’s free?
What is Omegle?
Omegle is a chat website which promises to help you “Talk to strangers!”. You don’t need an app to use Omegle on your phone or tablet.
According to the Omegle website home page:
“Omegle is a great way to meet new friends. When you use Omegle, we pick someone else at random and let you talk one-on-one. To help you stay safe, chats are anonymous unless you tell someone who you are (not suggested!), and you can stop a chat at any time. Predators have been known to use Omegle, so please be careful.”
That last sentence says it all….
You may also want to read TikTok: A Parent’s Guide
How Does it Work
You just start chatting with strangers by putting in a topic and clicking either Text or Video. That will take you to a new screen where you start chatting. The website will then connect you with a stranger to start talking straight away.
I didn’t try the Video option because I was nervous myself and I had read some really awful reviews of Omegle on the Commensense Media website.
I also read a warning issued by PSNI to parents after dealing with a disturbing incident involving two girls aged nine and 11 on Omegle – a male asked them to perform sexual acts. (They immediately alerted an adult.)
You May Also Enjoy ChatStep: A Parent’s Guide
Don’t Miss Out!
Have you just become parent to a teen? Or are you about to? Looking for some advice on how to deal with the teen years? We have a FREE e-Book “The Mykidstime Guide to Surviving the Teen Years” full of expert tips from Michelle and Jill (mums to 3 teens and a tween!).
What Parents Need to be Aware Of
#1. You are supposed to be over 13 to use Omegle
However, there’s no date of birth input (not that that would stop a tween or teen). If you are under 18 you are supposed to use it only with a parent/guardian’s permission.
#2. It encourages chatting to strangers
The very objective of the site is to encourage chat with strangers. Though chats start out anonymous, there’s nothing stopping people from sharing their personal information.
#3. The video chat allows people to see each other
I’m sure we can all see the risks and concerns associated with this – most prominent is, of course, the risk of indecent exposure.
#4. Moderation is imperfect
Omegle chat is moderated, however the website says itself “moderation is not perfect. You may still encounter people who misbehave. They are solely responsible for their own behavior.”
You May Also Enjoy Online Safety for Kids: 5 Simple Lessons to Teach Your Kids Today
Tips for Parents if Your Teen is using Omegle
You may decide not to allow your teen to use the website, but if you do then here are some tips.
#1. Try it yourself
Try it yourself and get your teen to show you the basics. This is one of the best ways of learning and understanding what it’s about.
#2. Have a conversation again about internet safety
Remind your teen that they should tell you if they see anything strange or receive any adverse messages. And that they should never divulge any personal information to a stranger.
#3. Talk about connecting with strangers online
Have a frank discussion about if there is any merit to talking to strangers online? Should you? What are the risks?
You May Also Enjoy One for the Fridge – 10 Tips for Practical Internet Safety
Does your teen use Omegle? What are your thoughts on it? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!