I’m going to keep this simple. There’s a website called ‘Omegle’. Here’s my advice! Ban it! Block it! Delete it! 

Was that simple enough for you? If not, here’s some information to sway your opinion. 

Working as a Digital Technologies teacher, I like to think I’m switched on enough to know all the dangerous or inappropriate social media sites that have eSafety concerns for our students. Obviously, that was me being naive because today I was altered by a colleague to a site named ‘Omegle’. I had never heard of it. 🙁 

My colleague works in the senior area of the school. Today, she heard whispers about students ‘chatting’ to strangers online through this website. Like all good teachers, she did a bit of digging and then asked me to investigate the website. I grabbed my digital spade and dug deep. I didn’t like what I found. Omegle has been circulating under the radar. It’s a reminder that parents, and we as teachers, need to be vigilant when students are using devices at home and at school. 

So, what’s so bad about Omegle? I can tell you that the description of the site alone is enough to make anyone feel nervous. This is what it says, Omegle is a great place to meet new friends. When you use Omegle, we pick someone else at random and let you have a one-on-one chat with each other.” Feeling nervous, yet? 

Once you enter the site, you are presented with a homepage that not only lacks aesthetic appeal, but also lacks information about who created it and why? Any person with an ounce of common sense or technological awareness could see that it’s dodgy. At first, I thought the site was a coded algorithm designed to reply to standard questions, but after using it myself it became clear that the people on the other end of the chat are as human as you and me.

For the sake of research, I dived in for the greater good. I went undercover (as a pretend teenager) and started a chat with a ‘stranger’. I began by using colloquial language to appear younger and maybe cooler than I am (although that’s debatable 😋). 

The chat didn’t last longer than a couple of minutes, but it was enough to scare me. I was asked a couple of questions that would be rated R+ in a film or online video game. The point is, anyone can pretend to be someone else online. 

So, as I said at the start. I’m going to keep this simple. There’s a website called ‘Omegle’. Here’s my advice! Ban it! Block it! Delete it! 

This article was written by Teacher and Multimedia Learning Specialist, Rob Kelly.

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