Springs School officials put families on guard this week about a website called Omegle, which connects internet users to strangers for the purpose of anonymous chatting.
On its website, Omegle says it is “a great way to meet new friends,” but acknowledges that “predators have been known to use Omegle, so please be careful.” The school sounded the alarm in both English and Spanish with a notice on its website, springsschool.org.
“It has come to our attention that, outside of school, some of our students have accessed a dangerous online chat website called Omegle,” the notice says. “Springs School has effective security measures in place on student devices, and we urge parents to do the same at home. Please take this opportunity to set parental control protections on all digital devices (cellphones, laptops, iPads, etc.).”
Omegle has been in numerous unsavory news headlines over the last several months. Other local school districts have not specifically addressed the site, but do educate students about online safety in general.
“We try to take a proactive approach by addressing internet safety throughout the year in an age-appropriate manner with our technology teacher,” said Maria Dorr, the Amagansett School principal. She said the school’s fifth and sixth-graders receive information from a retired “computer crimes detective” annually. “We feel this is the best approach, rather than addressing a particular program, app, or website, because as you know, the cyber landscape changes at rapid rates.”