Heard of Omegle? Is Omegle safe? It’s an anonymous video/ text-based chat service that pairs random strangers to socialize and chat. You do not need to register or sign in – Absolutely no registration!.
So, basically – anyone can go online and video chats with a stranger regardless of verifying his age or identity!
Does that sound safe for your child? NO! Not to us at least.
A simple warning on the welcome screen is all Omegle offers in terms of safety guidelines. It only says you must be 18+ to use the site (or 13+ with the parent’s permission). Do you think anyone would follow such rules? It also gives a message saying: “Predators have been known to use Omegle, so please be careful.” Omegle displays two webcam screens (yours and the strangers) when chatting online, these showcase the videos. There’s also an Instant messaging feature available, obviously much like chat. Once you end the conversation with one stranger, you are immediately connected to another stranger.
While we may think this is a thing of the past since, Omegle was founded in 2009 and was extremely popular then and slowly faded, search shows that it has recently surged in popularity among children.
Is Omegle Safe for your child? What are the things we need to worry about as parents with regards to the app?
Your answer to, “Is Omegle safe?”, is here – The very fact that the app highlights that it’s a place where you can talk to strangers is the problem! There are tons of child safety concerns associated with it. The top ones are as discussed below:
The website itself states that predators have been using the site. Elderly predators can disguise themselves to become friends with children and exchange abusive content. They may even try to get into a relationship with them and try to work it out in real life. Children can be abused online and also, some predators can cause harm beyond repair.
- Sexual Content
Nudity, sexual acts, inappropriate language, or pre-recorded explicit videos could be some of the many sexually explicit content your child may come across. This content can not only be shared or shown, but strangers may also ask to perform sexual acts by blackmailing.
- Security Threats
Strangers or predators can con children into giving out personal information like house address, parent details, credit card details, school name, etc. This could lead to online theft, scamming or other self-safety issues.
- Screen Recording
On Omegle, it’s possible for strangers to screen record video chats and save text conversations. Children might think the act is private, but it’s not. The stranger can then use these to his advantage and share them online or with others, or publish them online, or use them to blackmail the victim. Be aware!
Strangers might bully your child – racism, caste, religion could be some areas where strangers can bully and this cyberbullying could have long-term consequences on the child’s mental health. No doubt, It’s easier to bully behind a screen.
So How to Keep Children Safe?
It is not just this app that can cause harm, any chat app could be related to the above safety issues. Here are some steps parents should take:
- Talk to your child and educate them on cyberbullying, stranger chatting apps, online grooming, and encourage them to come to you if a user is making them uncomfortable or fearful.
- Familiarize yourself with the app, by using it and getting a sense of the controls and settings. This is very important to help your child.
- Set strict timings and rules with the use of parental control apps, such as screen time limits, the apps that they can use, no downloading other apps, etc.
- Talk regularly with them about what they’re seeing and hearing.
Using Parental control software is the best way to help you keep rules in place and guide kids to a healthier relationship with smart devices.
Kiddoware has researched and well-studied the need for parental control when it comes to such apps and websites. Well, such apps and websites will continue growing and so will the number and time devoted by children to these apps. Hence, we have devices parental control apps that will help you protect your child online and also monitor his/her activity so that you do not let them fall prey to any online scam!
Check all the parental apps below: These apps have been rated the best among the top 10 parental control apps.