The pandemic has been tough on student social life, we are not able to go out as often and meet up in large groups and at this point most of us long for genuine and interesting conversations with different types of people while social distancing. From this, many young adults have discovered Omegle.
Omegle was founded by Leif k-Brooks and launched on March 25, 2009 for the sole purpose of socializing with other’s anonymously via private chat and video sessions. This website which can be accessed through mobile phones, tablets and computers is known as a free online chat website that allows users to socialize with others based on similar interests. The service randomly pairs users who have never met for one-on-one video chat sessions. The selection process requires users to type in their interests in order to pair similar people for a surprising social experience. This website could be found useful for students bored during quarantine that have free time after school although users are required to be 13 or older to use this website with parental permission. All they have to do is search up Omegle.com, write down their topics of interests and almost immediately, they are paired up with another user to chat.
Sophomore Casandra Chaviano shared her experience with the site and whether or not she would recommend others to use it as well. “My experience wasn’t bad at all. I got to talk to many people, and some were actually friendly and have added me on various social media platforms”, This quick and easy website allowed Casandra to interact with others and even make new friends outside of school. However, Omegle does sometimes present some dangers, such as mysterious individuals with malicious intentions. Casandra explains how, “I have seen some things rather creepy and get really weirded out and uncomfortable, but all I do is skip them and continue to have fun”.
While sketchy at the least, Omegle has a solution for when a user encounters these types of individuals: the skip button. This feature allows a user to move on to a new individual to chat with if they feel uncomfortable for any reason. In order to reassure safety to its users, the company also moderates the video chats for a better experience. With the measures Omegle has taken to promote safe socializing, Casandra discusses how she recommends this website and encourages others to join with friends for a more memorable experience. ”I actually met this really nice person who sang a couple songs to my friends and I. We actually still talk to this day,” Casandra shares.
Casandra may have had a good experience, but she is few of the many who have. The internet is full of of dangers and this website is a gateway for them. Since you only have to be 13 to access, this website is like a predators playground because it’s “You” and a “Stranger” in a chat that does not filter out explicit content. It has been shown that Omegle has had child predators use it. This is extremely harmful because many are vulnerable to being exposed to inappropriate content and dangerous situations. Overall, this website offers its users a sample of the internet’s strange and interesting people, but is not appropriate for children unless under strict supervision.