I had first heard about this website from my little brother.
Omegle is basically an online chat site which allows you to talk to strangers directly, without having to register into it. It’s popular among teenagers and was built by one, a certain Leif K-Brooks of Brattleboro, Vermont, an 18-year old. It has been alive since the 25th of March, 2009 and had managed to attract a huge number of more than 150,000 page views per day, immediately after its launch.
Five years into its being, Omegle has been a subject of huge controversies credits to the anonymity it maintains for its users (of course, the video conferencing facility minuses this). The ‘chat’ via the website essentially involves a random ‘Stranger’ and an ‘You’ talking, thus making it unsafe for children and a potential threat to users who may awkwardly meet up with unwanted sexual content or abuse.
Here are some reasons why you should not be Omegle-ing too often.
Chats mostly start with ASL enquiries and end up in them:
Omegle had started with a text-only chat site. When I had first started upon it, the very first question from the very first stranger was this – “Hi! ASL?” In case you are wondering what ASL means, it’s age, sex and location.
And how uncool is that?
So, I moved on to the next and the next and the next with the same ASL wailing every time. After that, it was some decent chat with decent people, but for brief periods, because decency, dear readers, is so tiresome that the people eventually chose to jump back to square one. ASL wailing started all over once more. And how I hated it!
Might it not take teens to something really bad someday?
Who knows whose on the other side? Who knows how his brain works? Or, if he even has one for that matter? Is he up to something bad? You never know. Google up Omegle stories and you’ll be astonished to see how teens are using it for blind dates and whatever the fresh hormones tell them to. Now you may ask what’s wrong in that. And I’ll ask back what isn’t. Star-crossed, if you happen to be, things may get nasty. Like, really, really nasty.
It’s not for under-13s. But who the hell cares?
Omegle says, “Do not use Omegle if you are under 13. If you are under 18, use it only with a parent/guardian’s permission.” Well, I found none of the two statements followed. Certainly not in my case. And do you really think those kids out there in their most rebellious of age will ever ask for their parents’ permission to use the website. It’s like “Mama told me not to talk to strangers. But do I really care?”
Omegle takes up your IP address, even if its for 120 days:
Okay, after 120 days it’s going to forget it anyway. But, are you really willing to share your IP address with someone you just discovered is shady? Think.
An unmonitored video chat mode is a big puh-lease!
With unmonitored video comes in unmonitored sexual or adult content with nudity and verbal abuse being serious concerns. Will you let your child have that Omegle bug biting always. It can have a bad effect on his growing up. And, if you have already heard the news about how, on 2nd October, 2014, a man from Burnsville, Minnesota was arrested after meeting a girl online through this site, kidnapping and sexually assaulting her, you’ll definitely like to rethink about the liberty you have granted to your kid.
How private are your conversations?
Your chat log can be saved and the link shared on the Internet, specially on social media platforms. So, if you are thinking of sharing anything private, think twice. You may be sorry for your decision later.
May be Omegle was created with all goodwill in mind. But given the way it functions, the website has soaked up some serious controversies and parental concerns. Know what your child’s browsing. Keep a tab on the browser history. And if you suspect your kid to have deleted it, try talking to him. A face-to-face heart-talk helps more than confronting with all strictness.
And if all that you try goes into futility, remember that there are ways by which you can block the site forever. Don’t spare the rod and spoil the child.