The most important lesson many parents teach their kids is not talking with strangers. In a real world, it can be easily prevented, but the online world often encourages users to interact with people they don`t know. While parents can monitor kid`s privacy settings and their friends’ list on Facebook and Instagram, there are some apps aimed at random interaction with anyone in the world that can`t be controlled. One of these apps gaining popularity among teens these days is Omegle.
What is Omegle and how it works
Omegle is an app where users can talk to people from any corner of the world.
When a teen opens a website, it randomly pairs them with another user, and they can chat together through text or video. The dialogue starts with a request for a person`s ASL (age, sex, and location). Since Omegle is aimed at anonymous chatting, ASL can be used by online predators and other strangers with malicious intentions to identify their potential targets.
Is Omegle for Kids Dangerous? Everything Parents Need to Know
If you still think that Omegle for kids is not such a bad idea, here are some facts you need to be aware of:
- The Omegle homepage clearly says that it is prohibited for minors below the age of 13 to use their service. Besides, teens under 18 can`t use it without a parent or guardian`s permission. But we hope you understand that not too many 16 year-olds ask their parents if it is okay to use this service.
- Adolescents can connect Omegle to their Facebook account to find people with common interests. Selecting this feature, Omegle will get your teen`s Facebook likes and match them with people with similar ones. So, your Facebook friends will be able to see your Omegle activity, unless you change the settings.
- After every chat, users can save chat logs and share the link. Due to this, your teen`s Omegle conversation is not private as the chat content can be simply shared with other parties without their consent.
- There are two video chat modes: monitored and unmonitored. Initiating unmonitored video chat, teens are more likely to come across inappropriate content or encounter sexual behavior. The unmonitored mode is prohibited for minors under the age of 18, but they can easily confirm that they are 18 years old simply tapping Ok.
Omegle for Kids: What Dangers It Has
Here is the list of reasons why Omegle for kids is a bad idea.
Reason 1. Chats with random strangers
As it is written on their website, Omegle is a service to talk to strangers. After adding the interests, users get connected with random strangers for texting or having video chat. From one side it may seem fun, but from the other side, they run the risk of being exposed to inappropriate content or communication with perverts.
Reason 2. Explicit content and no enforced age restrictions
As it was already mentioned, there are two available options – monitored and unmonitored chats. The first one helps to filter out all explicit content, but there is nothing stopping a teen to choose the second one. Once a kid chooses the unmonitored mode, the pop-up appears:
But unfortunately, there are no safeguard measures to prevent kids from sidestepping this requirement.
Reason 3. Predators` playground
Once a kid starts a chat, users are identified as “You” and “Stranger.” Nevertheless, a stranger can ask to reveal sensitive information or share explicit content. Without doubts, due to the anonymity and lack of enforced age restrictions such chatting platforms like Omegle are a sweet spot for predators. Even Omegle notifies that:
While kids use Omegle without supervision, they are likely to be exposed to lewd content or potentially harmful individuals.
Reason 4. Lack of Privacy
Chats and content shared with a random stranger are supposed to remain a secret, but not on Omegle. After the end of every chat, there is an option to save logs and even share a link which allows the entire conversation to be publicly available. Omegle is available both as the app and website. So, parents need to ensure this service is on the blocked list.
How Do You Know if Your Teen Uses Omegle
Now when you understand that Omegle for Kids is a bad idea, the simplest way to find out if your kids use Omegle is to ask them. The other way is to check their web browser history. The shortcut Ctrl-H opens the browser history in such browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. But keep in mind that tech-savvy kids may delete their browsing history. The most reliable way is to use a parental control app to check their installed app list and browsing history.
How to block Omegle and Similar Websites
If your kid use Omegle or you want to prevent using it in advance, the best way is to look for parental control app like Kidgy.
Kidgy is a digital assistant that allows parents to supervise their kids’ smartphone activities, including the online ones. With Kidgy parents can figure out if their kids use Omegle, by simply checking their browsing history. Once kids use Omegle, parents can add this site and similar ones to the block list. Besides, parents can look through the list of installed apps and block the Omegle app if it is there.
Omegle is not for kids and as a parent you need to do all your best to prevent this service from being available to your kid. Kidgy is a tool that will come in handy to protect your minors from undesired content, prevents and unwanted activities.