Warning: This story contains adult content.
This story may make you want to pack up your family and go live like Laura Ingalls for awhile.
Omegle is a website where total strangers can chat with each other. There are filters to screen age, sex, and location although users don’t need to share personal information and even though you need to be 18 to use the site, there are no age verification processes to go through. It’s truly a free-for-all. If personal information is shared, it’s stored in Omegle’s servers for a few months. The door is wide open for kids to be taken advantage by malicious and predatory adults, which is exactly what is happening.
BBC investigated Omegle and “found what appear to be prepubescent boys explicitly touching themselves in front of strangers.”
Interest in Omegle has seen recent spikes around the world and videos tagged on TikTok with Omegle have been viewed more than 9.4 billion times. TikTok has said, in light of the BBC investigation, that they are banning sharing videos from Omegle.
Fifteen-year-old Kiera told the BBC: “Men being gross is something me and my friends see a lot. It should be better monitored. It’s like the dark web but for everyone.”
It’s not hard to figure out what she means and this is also not the first time Omegle has seen its share of controversies. According to Mobicip,
- In 2014, a twenty-two-year-old man sexually assaulted two thirteen-year-old girls he made friends with on Omegle. The girls were lured into a private meeting and later assaulted.
- In 2017, a virtual assailant manipulated two underage girls into engaging in explicit and inappropriate conversations that were later used to threaten the girls.
- Recently, a man from NY travelled to Charlotte for the purpose of engaging in inappropriate activity with a minor, whom he met on Omegle.
In the BBC’s investigation, during one two-hour window they were on the website, they were connected with seven pornography advertisements, eight naked men, 12 masturbating men, and what appeared to be two young boys masturbating live. One of them claimed to be 14-years-old.
If that’s not enough horror for parents to monitor their kids’ online activity, perhaps this is:
One parent in the UK who [the BBC] spoke to said her eight-year-old daughter was nearly coerced into sexual activity with an older man on the website.
She told the BBC: “My daughter had seen some videos go viral on TikTok about people being on this Omegle, so she explored this site and there’s no log-in or age restrictions or anything.
“These people were saying she was beautiful, hot, sexy. She told them she was only eight years old and they were OK with that. She witnessed a man masturbating and another man wanted to play truth or dare with her.
“He was asking her to shake her bum, take off her top and trousers, which she thankfully did not do.”