Find out everything you need to know about the virtual chat room, Omegle.
You might have heard about Omegle from your friends or seen it trending on TikTok. You may even have visited the site yourself. If you’re not sure what the site is or are wondering about how safe it is, we’re here to answer your questions!
How Old Do You Have To Be To Use Omegle?
The site states that you have to be 18+, or 13+ with parental approval.
What Is Omegle?
Omegle is a virtual chat room where you can talk to other people online. As the website states, these people are complete strangers. You are randomly paired up with someone else to talk 1-2-1, either via text, video, or both. You can select interests to find someone who has chosen similar interests to yourself, or you can skip this and be matched with someone at random. There is an option to choose a moderated or unmoderated section, although moderation is very poor. As you can imagine, this is raising some very serious concerns about online safety.
How Safe Is Omegle?
Omegle is not a safe space for young people – there is a real risk of viewing inappropriate, harmful or threatening content, or being targeted by online bullies and sexual predators. This is because of poor moderation and the absence of age verification. There have been multiple reports of racism, bullying, extremist vies, sexual abuse, grooming and sexually explicit content on Omegle.
Omegle itself acknowledges that users in the unmoderated section are “likely to encounter sexual behaviour”. They even urge users to “keep it clean” but admit that “no moderation is perfect.” There are no parental controls and no clear instructions on how to report or block inappropriate content, putting children and young people in extremely vulnerable and dangerous positions. Omegle was investigated by the BBC who then alerted the authorities because of the exploitation and sexually graphic content being shared on the site. Worryingly, the reporter witnessed many sexually explicit videos, including naked men masturbating, all within the space of just two hours. Schools and police in the UK and across the world have issued serious warnings about the site to make young people aware of the dangers.
I Saw Something Upsetting On Omegle
If you’ve seen something distressing on Omegle, or anywhere else online, it’s important to reach out and talk to someone. You might feel worried that you’ve done something wrong – you may have been on a website that’s for over 18s, for example – but please don’t worry about getting into trouble. The most important thing is your safety and getting the right support to help you deal with what you’ve seen. Read more about getting help here: https://ionpadel.com/for-me/online/online-safety/i-saw-something-upsetting-online/