Launched over a decade ago, the popular chat and video messaging app that lets individuals connect with strangers has gained traction among internet users dealing with social distancing and isolation during covid-19.
Although the rise in popularity wasn’t necessarily unexpected, the lack of moderation and age verification processes and parental control settings make this video and chat roulette platform a haven for online predators and digital miscreants.
Before we delve into the security and privacy risks you’re likely to be exposed to when using the platform, let’s look at its user base information, platform traffic and services.
According to the latest traffic summary, Omegle had 51.7 million unique visitors in May 2022 with about 29.89% users from the US, 9.95% from India, 5.12% from the Philippines, 4.52% from the UK and 3.48% from Germany.
Omegle’s audience has been tracked among various demographics, and despite a predominantly male audience of 63.91%, the number of female users accessing the platform has increased considerably during covid 19, reaching 36.09%.
While the largest age group of visitors is young adults aged 18 to 24 years old (39.91%), a BBC investigation from February 2021 found that children as young as seven or eight have been found using the platform adult section, regardless of the minimum age limit of 13.
Kids’ usage most likely increased due to the publicity Omegle had on TikTok – with many young influencers using the #omegle hashtag on their profiles while sharing their experiences when using the platforms.
Omegle is an anonymous chat or video-chat service that lets you converse with random strangers – no registration needed. The platform offers a range of options including:
Now, let’s dive deep into the obvious darkside of Omegle by exposing security and privacy risks for children and adults alike.
Unfortunately, no. Omegle is not a safe social platform. Actually, it can be quite dangerous, especially for young adults and kids. As we already stated, the platform does not require users to register using an email address or any other identifier (except for the college student chat) and has no way to verify users’ ages.
Going online comes with risks, and Omegle brings plenty of security and privacy threats to individuals curious enough to explore the platform’s offerings. This includes:
Unfortunately, conversations and interactions on Omegle are not truly anonymous, as the platform collects a wide variety of data, including:
Regarding children’s information, Omegle says it does not willingly collect or store personal information for users under the age of 13 and encourages parents or guardians to closely monitor kids’ internet usage, making sure they never share private data online.
The platform also instructs parents who believe their child has provided any information to send an email via email@example.com.
When it comes to online interactions on Omegle, there’s no bulletproof way for your child to use it safely and avoid exposure to inappropriate and sexual behavior that can have a traumatic impact. As such, we recommend making sure your child avoids the platform and similar services. For peace of mind, you can use a parental control monitoring service to ensure that minor children do not interact with the platform.
If you’re an adult who's curious about how the platform works and you think you can have a meaningful conversation with a stranger based on your common interests, stick to these good practices to ensure your privacy and safety online:
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