Hatfield mum’s paedophile fears over website

PUBLISHED: 06:30 03 October 2011

the Omegle website

the Omegle website

Archant

A CONCERNED mum has branded a website which allows people to talk to strangers “sick”, and fears it could be used by paedophiles to ‘groom’ children.

The website, called Omegle.com, proudly boasts the slogan: “Talk to strangers!” on the front page and allows visitors to talk to a randomly-selected stranger.

Hatfield resident Lisa Gooding discovered her 14-year-old son had been using the website for hours after she checked his internet history and called the WHT to warn other parents that their children could be at risk.

Ms Gooding, of Northfield, said: “I’m absolutely disgusted.”

She added: “You can even get on the webcam too – it’s sick.”

She said she had gone on the site and was immediately confronted by disturbing messages, including one from a user who claimed to be “a horny 13-year-old girl”.

And another user claimed to be “a 14-year-old looking for 13 to 16 year-old girls”.

The WHT posed as a 14-year-old girl and received replies from a 22-year-old man from China and a 20-year-old from Paris, who said his name was Paul.

When we revealed our pretend age to be 14 the user replied: “pretty little, nice :)”.

When challenged on what he meant he backtracked and asked about our fictional 14-year-old’s hobbies.

No-one from Omegle.com answered our enquiries about Ms Gooding’s concerns.

A spokesman for the Government’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection department (CEOP) said: “Social networking sites are now a fundamental part of young people’s lives, but all too often, young people don’t think about the risks or consequences of using them.

“Some people lie about who they are or what their intentions are when using social networking sites, so it’s important that young people and their parents understand what they can do if they have any concerns or suspicions.”

■ To get advice and guidance on a range of online issues go to the links at the top right of this page.


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