The internet is a great place for children to learn, explore, and engage with our culture. But, sadly, there are some websites that just aren’t safe for kids — and one of those websites is Omegle.
- What is Omegle?
- What is Omegle Kids?
- Why do children and teens use Omegle?
- Is Omegle safe for children?
- Does Omegle have any internal parental control options?
- Ways to protect children from websites like Omegle
- Summary: Omegle and online safety
What is Omegle?
Omegle is a free video and text chat website that was created back in 2009. The service is currently popular among children and teenagers. And its visitor counts have surged since the COVID-19 pandemic.
In short, Omegle pairs up two random people to have a one-on-one chat via text, video, or both. Omegle doesn’t require visitors to register before chatting with others on the site.
While this may seem convenient at first, it actually opens the doors for abusive behavior. This is because users (of any age) can wander into virtual areas they aren’t supposed to be. And website visitors can select from a variety of different chat options including:
Omegle visitors can talk with one another via video chat. This means users can see and hear one another in the chat room.
Omegle visitors can talk with one another in a traditional text chat. Users can’t see or hear one another, but they can send messages back and forth.
Omegle’s moderated chat is for adults (18+) and content is (supposed to be) regulated by Omegle admins.
Omegle’s unmoderated video chat is for users 18+ years of age. This is where visitors can discuss adult content without regulation. But as discussed before, there are no concrete ways to ensure each user is actually 18 years or older.
Omegle’s “Spy” mode lets a user observe an active chat between two other users (with permission). Spies are allowed to pose questions in the chat, but they’re not allowed to otherwise engage.
What is Omegle Kids?
Omegle Kids is a version of Omegle that’s meant specifically for children — kind of like YouTube vs. YouTube Kids. However, like the traditional version of Omegle, Omegle for Kids doesn’t have a strict safety policy designed to protect children from predators and inappropriate content.
Why do children and teens use Omegle?
In most cases, children and teenagers use Omegle for fun and online engagement. YouTubers and TikTokers have earned thousands and even millions of views posting recorded content from Omegle. Many users cosplay, sing, and express themselves. Or they use Omegle as a place to talk about problems they don’t want to share with friends or family members.
But, Omegle visitors may also use the website for sexual purposes. Since Omegle is largely unregulated, it’s challenging to prevent kids from engaging in explicit behaviors. Not to mention, these behaviors may be recorded and redistributed online without consent.
Is Omegle safe for kids?
The short answer is “absolutely not.” The long answer is that Omegle is dangerous for children and teenagers for these reasons:
Since Omegle doesn’t verify age or ID, there’s high risk for contact with online predators. Recent incident reports show evidence of child grooming, sexual activity with minors, and other deeply disturbing behavior.
Omegle also exposes children to violent content. Early exposure to violent videos may lead to serious emotional distress, trauma, desensitization, fearfulness, and other side effects.
Hackers and con artists on Omegle can trick children into revealing personal information. Physical and IP addresses, credit card numbers, and passwords are all at risk. Not to mention, some Omegle predators may ask for the name of your child’s school. This information may lead to fraud, identity theft, stalking, or more.
Sexual content and pornography
Children can easily wander into the adult and unmoderated areas of Omegle. And all this happens without any age verification check. This puts children at very high risk for coming in contact with sexual content, pornography, and disturbing materials.
Serious privacy issues
Strangers can save text conversations and screen recordings of private one-on-one chats. Predators save these chat records and redistribute to others or publish elsewhere online. In some cases, these recordings can be used for blackmail purposes.
Just like it’s easier to get road rage inside a car, it’s easier to bully others from behind a screen. Cyberbullying is devastating and has serious long-term effects on mental health. This is yet another risk that Omegle poses to young children and teenagers.
Because Omegle doesn’t require age or identity verification, it’s easy for people to pretend to be someone else. That’s called catfishing and it’s often used to facilitate online romantic relationships or financial scams. Catfishing can lead to emotional distress, embarrassment, mental health issues, and serious financial loss.
All of the reasons above are why Omegle is now commonly known as a “playground for predators.”
Does Omegle have any internal parental control options?
According to Omegle’s terms of service, only users aged 18+ may use the site (or 13+ if they have parental consent).
However, Omegle does not have ANY native parental controls to help keep children and teenagers safe. There’s no registration required and users can log into adult sections of the site without providing age verification.
In short, there’s no real regulation that stops adults from entering spaces meant for children, and vice versa.
This is why parents and guardians should invest in third-party parental control apps (like MMGuardian) to monitor and prevent inappropriate online behavior.
Can someone track you on Omegle?
Yes, people can track other people through Omegle — mostly through social engineering. Social engineering is a way for people to get information from others like:
- Physical addresses
- IP addresses
- SSNs and PINs
- And more
Unfortunately, since Omegle doesn’t regulate age or identity, it’s relatively easy for predators to extract this kind of information from children. Predators can then use that information to track, blackmail, stalk, and more.
Ways to protect children from websites like Omegle
Many parents are unaware of what their children do online. And while some children may enjoy harmless kid-friendly videos on YouTube, others may be talking with strangers in unregulated chat rooms.
This is why it’s critical to monitor what children and teenagers are doing online, and which websites they visit. Here are some ways to take action and protect your child from harmful and unsafe websites.
Know which websites put your child at risk
It’s not just Omegle. There are tons of other “stranger chat” websites that don’t require registration or verification like:
Stay in the know about which websites are suspicious, high-risk, and unsafe for your child. If you use a parental control app, either block these sites or check for traffic to them.
Educate your child about online safety
Talk with your child about online safety and try to have an open, honest conversation. This means explaining why some websites are dangerous for children and/or teenagers. Open the discussion up to your child and answer questions they have about how to stay safe.
Restrict AND explain
If you notice your child visiting unsafe websites online, avoid the urge to punish without explanation. So instead of grounding your child without explaining why visiting certain websites is unsafe, talk with them. Outline which websites are harmful, why they’re harmful, and why children and teenagers should avoid them. As well, offer safe alternatives and solutions.
Use parental control apps
Parental control apps are a great way to monitor and restrict your child’s online activity. Apps like MMGuardian have tons of tools to help parents keep their children safe. This includes a sophisticated Web Filter that blocks inappropriate content, certain website categories, and specific domains or URLs.
MMGuardian also protects against online threats across platforms. For example, a common grooming strategy for predators is switching communication over to a social media app to further a “relationship.” MMGuardian lets parents block social media apps like Instagram and SnapChat and/or set daily time limits.
In addition, MMGuardian sends parents alerts when children receive an inappropriate message (drugs, violence, cyberbullying, nudity). Parents can also receive comprehensive reports outlining web and phone activity, monitor texts and direct messages, block contacts, and so much more.
Summary: Omegle and online safety
There’s nothing more important than safety when it comes to parenting. But in today’s world, managing online safety can feel impossible without the right tools. Here’s a recap of everything you’ve learned about Omegle and how to keep your child safe:
- Omegle is an anonymous online chat website that doesn’t require age or identity verification
- Because Omegle is largely unregulated, it’s easy for children to make their way into adult spaces (and vice versa)
- Sites like Omegle expose children to inappropriate content like pornography, violence, cyberbullying, and more
- Omegle puts children at high-risk for coming in contact with sexual predators
- Talk with your child about online safety and provide safe alternatives for online entertainment
- Use parental control apps like MMGuardian to monitor online behavior and protect your child or teeanger
MMGuardian makes it easier for parents to keep their children safe online. Sign up for a free 14-day trial now and plans start at just $3.99 a month.