On the social media platform TikTok, it has become a popular trend to record yourself while using a site called Omegle.
Omegle is an online chat website that matches you up with complete strangers on the internet, where you may interact using your computer camera, a chat box, and a search box that lets you meet people with similar interests. While this seems like it could be fun, or a good place to meet friends, it’s quite the opposite. Logging into such an environment can be incredibly dangerous- especially for minors or young kids.
Sure, you’ve probably heard of “stranger-danger”- avoid talking to people you don’t know, because you don’t know their intentions. But in reality, with Omegle, it’s much more risky than that.
This site isn’t just filled with innocent internet users looking to make friends. There have been very common instances of sexual predators, white supremacists, stalkers, and other explicit and dangerous people who use the site to prey on people. Multiple videos have been captured of strangers spewing hate speech and slurs, as well as people being hacked or exposed to unwanted nudity.
Despite the fact that this should be enough of a repellent, there are still many young people who ignore these warnings and use the website anyway. There are age restrictions on the site, but a child could easily lie and use the website.
In addition to the crude content that you might be exposed to, the way the website is set up makes it extremely easy for hackers or stalkers to get your personal information, such as your IP address- which exposes your location to the stranger.
Even getting a Virtual Private Network (VPN) could not be enough to stop some of the most experienced and skilled hackers from accessing your personal information, which would put you at extreme risk.
So, even though this trend might seem fun or light-hearted, it’s important to understand just how dangerous logging onto a site with virtually no moderation can be. I would recommend staying away from Omegle, even if you’re an adult. Even adults can be hacked and have information stolen from them.