According to a recent study, teens are moving away from traditional social networks toward more anonymous messaging apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and yes—Omegle, and while some speculate that this trend is a reflection of adolescents’ legitimate privacy concerns, others wonder just what kids are up to that they feel the need to keep so secret. Whether you’re one to assume the best or worst when it comes to kids’ online behaviors, Omegle is an app that demands your attention as a responsible digital parent. Since its tag line is “Talk to Strangers!”, it’s definitely one to look out for on your teen’s device. (Really, does it get any more suspect than that?) Read on to learn more about this potentially dangerous app and how it could spell trouble for young users.
### What Is Omegle?
Despite its warning to users not to “get pervy,” Omegle is an app that allows users to have private conversations with strangers about anything they like, and this often includes sex, drugs, and violence. Although you can stop a chat any time you want, many users ask for their chat partner’s age, sex, and location before beginning a conversation, which could put younger users at risk. Omegle is available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android.
### What Others Are Saying About Omegle
We’re not alone in suggesting Omegle is no place for teens. According to Common Sense Media, “adults wishing to chat anonymously may find use in this app, but kids should be kept far away. “ Jean Dumais of BeWebSmart.com writes “Omegle is not okay for kids—unless you are okay with your kids chatting with complete strangers.” While experts debate the usefulness of many suspect apps, there’s a very strong consensus that Omegle is for adults only.
### What Can Parents Do?
Omegle certainly doesn’t make the cut for Qustodio-approved apps, and it’s one we recommend you block on your child’s device. Don’t stop there, though. If you see Omegle or other anonymous messaging apps on your teen’s phone or tablet, it’s a sign that you need to have a chat about what online privacy really means (and what it doesn’t!) Make it clear that nothing sent via website, chat forum, or even text message is ever truly private. Discuss your concerns about cyberbullying, sexting, and online predators, and let your teen know that any restrictions you put in place are for his or her protection, not for the purposes of spying. After all, a trusting parent-child relationship is the best parental control you can possibly put in place!
Download Qustodio’s free software to begin monitoring and blocking dangerous apps like Omegle.
Common Sense Media App Review: Omegle http://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-reviews/omegle
Teens Drift Away from ‘Traditional’ Social Networks http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/social-media/10787276/Teens-drift-away-from-traditional-social-networks.html
What Is Omegle? Is Omegle Okay for Kids? http://www.bewebsmart.com/internet-safety/what-is-omegle-is-it-okay-for-kids/