“I wanted to warn them to say, ‘Don’t go to this site, it’s full of pedophiles and criminal activity’ and they looked down and said, ‘Dad, we’ve been on this site for years. Everybody’s on it at school.'”
To support our Mama Mia community and parents of teens and tweens, we thought we’d take a closer look at not just Omegle, but all the other places where your teens and tweens hang out online.
Omegle advertises itself as a free platform where you can “meet awesome new friends” on the internet. The website, originally launched in 2009, allows users to message or video chat with complete strangers, with users randomly paired with another person online to communicate one-on-one. .
It attracts millions and millions of users around the world every week and makes money from advertising and affiliate marketing that mainly send users to adult webcam services.
With a video chat option that requires no login or registration, it’s easy to see why it attracts predators.
A trial is currently underway in the United States where an American man has been found guilty of abusing an underage girl through Omegle. In 2014, the then 30-year-old man was paired up with the then 11-year-old girl, where he began sextorting her. He forced her to send nude photos and videos of herself engaging in sex acts, according to the lawsuit.
The man was later criminally charged in 2018 for his actions. He pleaded guilty to Internet luring and distribution of child pornography and was sentenced to prison.
In Australia, Omegle remains available to use. However, it is listed on the Online Safety Commissioner website with a warning sign that read: “Users may encounter sexualized content and inappropriate behavior anywhere on the site. Omegle does not verify the age of users.”