From the start this site concerns me. Omegle is a chat site that carries the banner “Talk to strangers”. Essentially you go to the site, start a chat and are randomly connected to a stranger. The stranger is anonymous (as are you) and the conversation is unmoderated. If the conversation gets bad you disconnect. Anecdotally students have told me that disconnecting, because of weird conversations, is a regular, actually very regular thing.
As an educator and as a parent this site is a great big concern. We try to teach our students the basic tenets of Digital Citizenship – respecting and protecting yourself. This site by its very nature presents places users at risk. And given the feedback from the students the conversations got “weird”.
Six tenets of Digital Citizenship
- Respect Yourself. I will show respect for myself through my actions. I will select online names that are appropriate, I will consider the information and images that I post online. I will consider what personal information about my life, experiences, experimentation or relationships I post. I will not be obscene.
- Protect Yourself. I will ensure that the information, images and materials I post online will not put me at risk. I will not publish my personal details, contact details or a schedule of my activities. I will report any attacks or inappropriate behaviour directed at me. I will protect passwords, accounts and resources.
- Respect Others. I will show respect to others. I will not use electronic mediums to flame, bully, harass or stalk other people. I will show respect for other people in my choice of websites, I will not visit sites that are degrading, pornographic, racist or inappropriate. I will not abuse my rights of access and I will not enter other people’s private spaces or areas.
- Protect Others. I will protect others by reporting abuse, not forwarding inappropriate materials or communications; and not visiting sites that are degrading, pornographic, racist or inappropriate.
- Respect Intellectual property. I will request permission to use resources. I will suitably cite any and all use of websites, books, media etc. I will validate information. I will use and abide by the fair use rules.
- Protect Intellectual Property. I will request to use the software and media others produce. I will use free and open source alternatives rather than pirating software. I will purchase, license and register all software. I will purchase my music and media, and refrain from distributing these in a manner that violates their licenses. I will act with integrity.