Did you ever sneak into online chat rooms as a teen? It didn’t matter what your parents told you. Every time you logged on you felt a rush of excitement. Maybe it was fun to break the rules. Maybe it was your curiosity that drove you. After all, you didn’t know what kind of interesting stranger you might be connected with and that made chat sites alluring. Whatever the reason, you didn’t want to stay away.
It’s this same excitement that prompts today’s teens to use video chatting apps like Omegle.
If you’re wondering “what is Omegle?”, let us give you a quick rundown.
Omegle is a chatroulette site designed to randomly pair two users and allow them to instantly start chatting via text or video.
When they log on, users select which type of chat they’d like to enter including options like “adult” or “unmoderated”.
Omegle’s policies say that users must be at least 13 to use the app but there is no age verification process so kids can lie about their age and access any chat room, even the adult ones.
Omegle has little to no safeguards built into its platform, relying instead on users to keep their conversations appropriate.
If you’re feeling concerned right now, you should be. Omegle is dangerous to kids online because it’s a popular app with online predators. All they need is one chat to start the grooming process. Evidence of kids exposing themselves has already been found on the site, showing just how effective these predators are at getting kids to comply with their demands.
If you’re ready to leap into action, here’s what you need to do:
Have an open-ended conversation about Omegle with your kid.
Let’s remember our own teenage days and the times we felt like our parents pulled out a soapbox from which to preach at us. Were those conversations ever really effective? Or wasn’t it tempting to simply zone out until the talk was over?
Nothing has changed when it comes to your own kids. Now we get it. After hearing all the dangers of Omegle it can be tempting to immediately yank them aside for a drawn-out conversation. Here’s the thing though. You can talk until you’re blue in the face about stranger danger and the permanence of the internet but very little (if anything) is going to stick with your kid if the discussion is totally one-sided.
Ditch the panic and try this instead.
Take your kid aside in a comfortable environment and calmly ask them questions to determine how much they know about Omegle. It’s important to not make assumptions about the amount of knowledge they have about it.
Once you’ve established their baseline level of knowledge, ask about their own level of curiosity. If your kid says the idea sounds interesting to them, don’t panic. Probe a little further and determine what makes it sound appealing to them. It’s natural for kids to feel curious so don’t judge or shame them.
While acknowledging the curiosity they might have, talk calmly and openly about the dangers that lurk on Omegle. Explain the nudity, sexual content, and predatory behavior that they will likely encounter. It’s important to strike the right balance here between honesty and calmness because leaning too heavily on scare tactics could actually increase your kid’s desire to test the site out.
Let them know that many things that happen on Omegle aren’t healthy, while also acknowledging that it’s natural to be curious about things like sex. It may feel awkward to bring up the topic of sexuality with your teen but it’s an important part of helping them realize you are safe to talk to about ANY subject, even uncomfortable ones.
Finish the talk by giving them the final word and avoid the pitfall of turning the conversation into a lecture by letting your kid guide the ending. Depending on your kid, this might include answering more questions or going deeper into the reasons why Omegle is dangerous. However it ends, make sure that your kid walks away knowing that you will always love them.
The key to navigating this kind of conversation with your kid is to remain calm and sincere. Although it’s tempting to panic, this will likely cause your kid to tune you out or feel interested in trying Omegle for themselves. At the same time, it’s just as important to be authentic and truthful with your kid. They’ll quickly sense when you’ve started to lean on scare tactics instead of the truth and will likely turn elsewhere to learn more about Omegle.
Think about that for a second. Would you rather them learn about this from you or from their friends who might be already using and enjoying the site themselves?
Get your kid an Aqua One Smartphone
As the dangers of Omegle continue to be revealed, a lot of the parenting advice out there is to monitor your kid’s phone to see if they start exploring the site. And you know what? That advice is exactly right. You should monitor your kid’s online activity but not the way everyone else does it.
It’s time for the Aqua One solution: unlimited parental monitoring. If you’re wondering how that works, let us explain!
With the Aqua One smartphone, checking in on your kid’s online activity is as easy as scrolling your social media feeds.
Every single action they take on the phone is captured and sent straight to your Parent Dashboard.
That dashboard updates in real-time, allowing you to check in on them on any iOS or Android device from anywhere.
Let us put it another way.
This means that every time they make a Google search, send messages to friends, watch a YouTube video, post on Instagram, or send a Snapchat, that cell phone activity drops into the Actions Tab in your Parent Dashboard. By simply clicking on the app you want to view, you can view a mirrored version of everything your kid watched, searched, or posted on their Aqua One.
The insight you’ll have is unlimited. If your kid hops on Omegle, you’ll see that activity plainly in the Activity feed of your dashboard. But, the visibility you have doesn’t stop there. You can also see everything they did on Omegle from the moment they got on.
We’ve said before that the Aqua One brings parents true peace of mind and this is exactly why. Instead of having to force your kid to hand over their phone every night so you can check their activity and hope they haven’t evaded you by simply uninstalling the app from their phone, you’ll have complete access with the Aqua One. Even if they uninstall the app from the phone (an action that your Parent Dashboard will show you), all actions they took on the app will still show up in the Activity feed on your dashboard.
Are you convinced now that the Aqua One smartphone is your best solution to monitoring your kid’s online activity and keeping them safe from apps like Omegle?
If so, it’s time to dive in!