Do you like talking to strangers? Do you wish to socialize with people who are entirely unknown to you, probably from the other corner of the world?
There's a possibility that you are saying yes; why not right? But would you be okay with your twelve-year-old chatting with a stranger?
Needless to say, like origins, we want our children to be exposed to a kind of people, places and activities that would them into dynamic and motivated individuals.
But what if the person likes a child interacting with a total stranger in a virtual interaction that goes beyond our purview and control? Is the benefit worth the risk?
Omegle is a website where a person can have a conversation with a random stranger without any supervision. Let's see why it is so popular among teenagers:
- Omegle lets users socialize with strangers without yielding personal information.
- It pairs random users in chat set-ups, known as 'You' and 'Stranger'.
- Always, the dialogue is initiated by request for the other person's age, sex and location - ASL. An acronym the site’s subscriber is well acquainted with!
- Omegle also offers video chat for adults. But without an active age gate, underage users can use the site by playing to be adults.
- Everything that the users disclose about themselves is archived on the website's servers for about four months.
- Age, sex and location - these are valuable filters on Omegle. Unfortunately, this information can also be used by adults with malicious intentions to identify potential targets.
- In 2012, Omegle added a feature that paired strangers based on shared interests.
- Talks with strangers can be monitored or unmonitored, depending on the user's preference. But while 'unmonitored' might seem the obvious way to go, note that Omegle warns users of a greater possibility they will find themselves at the receiving end of explicit and inappropriate content when initiating an unmonitored conversation.
- Omegle added a dangerous feature that allows a user to capture a screenshot of the conversation.
- There's quite a history of disputes associated with Omegle which makes it frighteningly hazardous for children.
The incidents happened on Omegle shocked everyone
In 2014, a twenty-two-year-old man sexually assaulted two thirteen-year-old girls he made friends with on Omegle. The girls were lured into a private connection and later assaulted.
In 2017, a virtual assailant manipulated two underage girls into engaging in explicit and inappropriate conversations that used later to threaten the girls.
Users can even enter into what is known as 'Spy Mode' in Omegle. In 'Spy Mode', they can ask a question to two people engaged in a chat conversation and also view their conversation.
Alternatively, the 'Spy Mode' feature also allows a user to discuss with another person a question posed by a stranger.
Recently, a man from NY traveled to Charlotte to engage in inappropriate activity with a minor, whom he met on Omegle.
There are several similar apps or websites, such as CoolMeet, ChatHub, Chatspin, Shagle, Chatrandom, Emerald Chat, Dirtyroulette, Camsurf, Bazoocam, Tinychat which are relatively disturbing and filled with potential threats. So how do you safeguard your children from such sites?
In an ideal situation, the best way to steer clear of danger would be to avoid using the site altogether. Mentoring your child on the perils of such sites and applications also helps immensely.
Setting limits and ground rules while they surf the internet is also advisable. Omegle's homepage itself declares that "Predators have been known to use Omegle", what good could come out of indulging in such websites?
And even considering the positives that can be attributed to the site, they can, perhaps, be accessed in more significant measure and with more benefits from other healthier and more transparent avenues.
Parental supervision is not just advised but necessary. A parent's responsibility is to keep children safe, and Mobicip makes it more comfortable!
With Mobicip, you can block such sites or apps with our monitoring assistance and help your child have a more reliable internet experience.