What it Is:
Omegle is a chat site (there is also an app) that uses the phrase “Talk to Strangers!” to draw users in. Your parental red flags immediately went up, correct? This site is very clearly not a good idea for children and teens.
Once you sign up, the app simply chooses someone at random for you to either video chat or text with, anonymously. There is an option to get matched up with strangers based on interests, but that is not necessary. At the time that I logged in, which was a Monday afternoon, the site claimed to have 16,000+ users online at that specific time.
What Parents Need to Know:
The site states that you must be 18+ or 13+ with parental consent, but there is no way to verify your age on the site, since there is no registration. Omegle does suggest you keep your conversations anonymous, for safety reasons and they make it clear you can end a chat at any time. But, the site does have a reputation for dropping anonymity almost immediately and conversations getting off track quickly.
According to a Common Sense Media review, “Omegle is filled with people searching for sexual chat. Some prefer to do so live. Others offer links to porn sites.” In addition to the sexual content, language and violent graphics have also been reported.
Project B3’s Tips and Suggestions:
- This site/app is NOT for kids or teens.
- Keep an eye out for sites that are very much like Omegle: TinyChat,
Chatroulette, ChatRandom, and HeyPeople are just some examples.
- Video chatting is fun and a great way to keep in touch and socialize, just not on these apps and not with complete strangers. Still, be sure to set clear a boundary of how video chatting works in your household. Who may your children chat with? In what rooms of the house? For how long?