+
upworthy
Family

Cyber safety educator sends parents important warning about a popular social media app, Omegle

"This is not a safe platform"

online safety; teen online safety; Omegle; internet safety

Cyber safety educator warns parents about Omegle platform.

Technology is constantly changing and teens are usually ahead of the curve when it comes to the newest tech on the block. Many parents are asking their children how apps work or using their teens as in-home tech support for anything technology related, so it's not a surprise when parents are two steps behind in warning their children about a problematic app or unsafe trend.

Think about being a teen in the late 90s and our not-so-smart greeting of "ASL" (Age, Sex, Location) for AOL chatrooms full of strangers that used to offer to pick us up for parties. Most of our parents didn't know how to get past the Ask Jeeves screen, let alone navigate to an AOL chatroom to see who we were talking to. In many ways, teens today are doing the exact same thing but with a faster internet connection, more platforms and high-definition cameras. But now, we're the parents trying to Ask Jeeves what Omegle is.

I'll give you a hint: Jeeves doesn't know, but this cyber security educator does, and she's sending out massive smoke flares to get parents' attention.


Tiana Sharifi, a cyber security educator, replied to a question asked on her TikTok page. The commenter asked if Sharifi thought Omegle was inappropriate and was given an in-depth answer about the dangers of the app for children.

"I educate parents but I also educate kids and teens, and what I will tell you is that when I go into these presentations, from grade six and upwards, they've all heard about Omegle," Sharifi says. "When I say, 'Have you heard of Omegle?' everybody's hands go up. But when I ask parents in parent nights, you get maybe two or three hands go up. This is not a safe platform."

Omegle is a video platform that essentially allows you to video chat with strangers for a few minutes at a time. Sharifi explains it as webcam chat roulette where the only safeguard is a box that you click saying you're 18. No math required to try to guess the correct birth year, just a box to check. There are no moderators and you can't choose the rooms you get dropped into, so kids can and do get paired with adults, and not always safe adults.

"If you want to do an experiment, you can go on Omegle yourself and you will see within five seconds of being on the platform, there will be a lot of inappropriate nakedness," Sharifi reveals.

@tianasharifi

Replying to @eveybevy70 #parenting #parentingtips #onlinesafety #childsafety

But if you think kids being dropped into random rooms with anonymous strangers is the worst part, Sharifi drops a bomb that most parents aren't ready to hear.

"The most alarming part is that the kids are being recorded without their knowledge," the educator shares.

Since the platform is live-streamed, the kids believe the interaction is completely temporary, unaware that the adult could be filming them. If a child decides to engage with the naked individual in any way, including in a way that's inappropriate, these screen-recorded interactions are then uploaded to inappropriate adult entertainment sites, according to Sharifi. But there's no extortion or blackmail, so neither the kids nor parents ever find out their children are on these sites that are specifically frequented by people looking for sexual content involving minors.

Teens aren't aware of the recordings and their parents aren't aware of the sites, so Sharifi bringing this to light on a public platform that teens and parents both frequent could make a positive impact.

popular

People are baffled to find out they've been burning candles wrong their whole lives

There's an art to avoiding the "memory ring" that makes a candle tunnel around the wick.

The "tunnel" that often forms around a wick isn't supposed to be there.


The evolution of candles from lighting necessity to scented ambience creator is kind of funny. For thousands of years, people relied on candles and oil lamps for light, but with the invention of the light bulb in 1879, fire was no longer needed for light. At that time, people were probably relieved to not have to set something on fire every time they wanted to see in the dark, and now here we are spending tons of money to do it just for funsies.

We love lighting candles for coziness and romance, relishing their warm, soft light as we shrink from the fluorescent bulb craze of the early 2000s. Many people use candles for adding scent to a room, and there are entire candle companies just for this purpose (Yankee Candles, anyone?). As of 2022, candles were an $11 billion business.

With their widespread use, you'd think we'd know a thing or two about candles, but as a thread on X makes clear, a whole bunch of us have been burning candles wrong our entire lives without knowing it.

Keep ReadingShow less
Canva

Take pleasure in little things when you're raising kids.

As a parent, it sometimes feels like you're supposed to be fueled entirely by selfless love and a "spiritual connection" to your children.

But you know what? You matter, too! And there's nothing wrong with needing a little soul-nourishment that doesn't end with you on your knees scrubbing barf out of the carpet.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Woman goes to huge lengths to adopt husband's ex-wife's baby to save him from foster care

She had lived in foster care and didn't want it for the newborn with no name.

Christie Werts and her son, Levi


Christie and Wesley Werts have taken the idea of a blended family to the next level. When the couple fell in love five years ago and married, they brought together her children, Megan and Vance, and his children, Austin and Dakota.

As of January, the Ohio family has five children after adopting young Levi, 2. Levi is the son of Wesley’s ex-wife, who passed away four days after the child was born. The ex-wife had the boy prematurely, at 33 weeks, and died soon after from drug addiction and complications of COVID-19.

When Levi was born, he was a ward of the state with no first name or birth certificate.

Keep ReadingShow less

Can a dog really trust you?

Dogs can smell fear, but can they sniff out the truth? Your dog might actually be smarter than you're giving it credit for. It turns out, dogs are pretty good at picking up on human behavior. Science says so. A team led by Akiko Takaoka of Kyoto University in Japan conducted a study which found out that dogs actually know if you're to be believed or not.

The study involved tricking dogs in the name of science. Humans have known for a long time that if you point at an object, a dog will run to it. Researchers utilized this information in their study. During the experiment, they pointed at a container that was filled with hidden food. Sure enough, the dog ran towards the container. Then, they pointed at a container that was empty. The dogs ran towards it, but found that it had no food.

Keep ReadingShow less

A public service announcement from St. John Ambulance

Have you listened to the miscellaneous voices of your miscellaneous items on the floor lately?

Oh yours don't speak? Well these do.

Keep ReadingShow less
Image via Amanda Ripley/PopTech.

Map demonstrating scores of the Program for International Student Assessment for each state compared to a country that has similar scores.




This is not news: America does pretty badly when it goes up against other countries academically.

This is true even if we take it one state at a time—no single state, no matter how wealthy or small, matches the top scoring countries. And yet, the U.S. spends more per student than many other countries in the world.

Keep ReadingShow less