One of the more popular social sites used by predators but mostly escapes the media’s notice is Omegle. Omegle is a website whose motto is “Talk to Strangers!” Anyone can get in Omegle and chat with a total stranger either with a cam or without. Since there are no safety precautions in place on Omegle, predators often talk to underage kids on the site. In Omegle’s defense, when they do catch something they do report it to the NCMEC.
I get a lot of traffic from people doing web searches about Omegle. Before Google made their web searches private, the search queries used to almost always involve some question of whether or not someone can be arrested for using Omegle. The answer to that question is an emphatic yes. In some cases, even police officers can be arrested.
For example, take 30-year-old Simeon Isaiah Crispin Steers-Smith. He was a police officer for Chesterfield, Virginia. That didn’t stop him from allegedly going on Omegle and chatting with a 14-year-old girl.
The conversation quickly switches the topic to a sexual nature where the search warrant showed Steers-Smith asking the minor, “tell me how old you were the first time you did anything sexual…”
The chat shortly ends after the suspect says, “oh and you asked where we would do it…ideally on your bed. But if that’s too risky, I’ll rent a room at a hotel.”
Thankfully, in this case, the 14-year-old girl was an undercover investigator from nearby Hanover County.
Omegle is kind of a sneaky platform since it’s not an app as most parents are looking for suspicious apps these days. Since Omegle is just a website it can be accessed from any web-enabled device with an available data connection such as wifi or cellular data.
As usual, I recommend any device with a camera such as a laptop, phone or tablet, be kept out of a child’s room after their bedtime. And again, since Omegle is not an app you would need to check the browser history to see if Omegle is being accessed by your kids.