Monday, April 8, 2013

The Dangers Lurking on Sites Like Omegle, Stickam & More

Okay. I've sat long enough on this one. If you've been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you know I'm a tongue-in-cheek kind of guy and come across as a "typical guy" and perv most of the time. If you know me at all, you know that's only a small part of me. But what I'm about to talk about is no laughing matter.

I watch porn. I don't purchase it. I'm not addicted to it. And I have varying tastes. I prefer amateur and "couple decides to film their tryst" types of porn. But I'm also a voyeur. Admittedly, I will watch, even enjoy porn that is purportedly hidden camera. Is it right? No. I'm not perfect and I don't do the filming, but I do realize that I give those who do, some ammunition.

I hate hypocrisy more than most people, but here's where I'll be the hypocrite. It's wrong to spy on people. It's wrong to invade someone's privacy or betray their trust, but it's somewhat like a traffic accident; you don't want anyone to get hurt or die, but it doesn't stop you from slowing down and looking.

Well, that brings me to another phenomena that's not anywhere new, but that I've just now become concerned (enough to write) about. What am I talking about? I'm talking about the dangers of sites like Omegle, Stickam and the like.

What dangers am I talking about? Blackmail, exploitation (many of them minors), and a very real danger of ramifications such as depression and/or suicide.

I decided to write this blog post after coming across one that was more disturbing than most I'd seen. I'm sure there are worse out there, but this was one was the worst I'd seen. It made me feel worse for the girl than I normally do.

Now, don't get me wrong. To some degree, I blame the victims. I don't care if you're a minor or not; you know damn well that the Internet is forever. You know damn well that not everyone is who they claim to be. You know damn well that if you take your clothes off, if even for just a brief second, that you're doing something that you shouldn't be doing.

Let me make CRYSTAL clear that these victims are not forced into anything first. They take clothes off or flash these perpetrators of their own free will. It is precisely THAT that is their undoing.

Let me say that again: As soon as you flash a breast, give a quick moon to the camera, or rub your crotch on the camera, he's got you!

How on earth does he "have" you? Easy. He's been recording your live streaming cam the entire time. The second you do something you would rather die than have someone find out, you've fallen into his trap.

I won't win many fans by revealing what I'm revealing, but this affects real lives and fans are a dime a dozen.

What Exactly Happens?

As far as (now-defunct) Stickam goes, it was simply guys recording girls' live streams and then posting them all over the World Wide Web. That's tame compared to the rest of this post's intent.

Now, Omegle (and sites like it) are a far different story. Any of the sites that randomly match you with a stranger to talk to on cam are wide open for this to occur. I mention Omegle because it's Omegle that has/had the most targets.

It starts when, instead of seeing the other person, you see words on your screen where their face should be. These words are usually what is referred to as The Omegle Game.

What's this game? Keep reading.

Now, these aren't always worded exactly like this, but you'll get the idea.

You'll see something akin to:

Blow a Kiss - 15 points
Stick Your Finger in Your Mouth - 25 points
Show Your Bra - 50 points
Show Your Panties - 75 points

That's how it starts out. Tame enough, right? (Well, tame for pervs). But if you started playing this game, it's just begun.

After you've exhausted the list of possible point-makers, he'll then add a new set of prospective tasks:

Take Your Shirt Off - 200 points
Take Your Pants/Skirt Off - 250 points
Take Your Bra Off - 500 points
Take Your Panties Off - 1000 points
Flash Your Breasts - 1500 points
Flash Your Butt - 2000 points
Flash Your Vagina - 2500 points

Getting a little more creepy, right? Still not done.

Now, what happens next, if anything, depends on the pervert behind the other keyboard. Some simply wanted to see what all they could get you to do/show. The others, however, are the more dangerous ones. Those are the ones who, right around this point in time, will pop up another thing in place of the words that were on your view of them. You suddenly see pictures or video of yourself...and you showing your bra, your breasts, your vagina, etc.

Now, you're in deep and are not getting out no matter what you do.

Right about now, he's telling you that he's going to show all of your family, all of your friends, all of your Facebook and all of your co-workers everything you just did....unless you give in to his forthcoming demands.

Some will make you do more things, such as masturbate, insert objects both vaginally and rectally...and Lord knows what else. Others will seek to humiliate you more than try and get themselves turned on.

First and foremost, log! Why? Because even if you give in to every single demand he barks at you, he's going to spread that video around anyway. The second you showed a breast (or anything normally covered by a bikini, he fully intended to show it somewhere.

If there's any consolation whatsoever here, it's that the less you showed (for example, you flashed a single boob and that was it), your video probably won't even get views. Viewers of these sorts of videos want "the good" stuff; the hardcore stuff.

Secondly, although mortifying and embarrassing, the likelihood that someone you know is actually going to see this video, is slim to none. Why? Because this type of video isn't allowed on mainstream porn sites. It's a legal liability for them.

No, these videos will be on more "underground" and sparsely-populated sights. You will be seen, but you will be seen by very few people compared to mainstream porn sites' traffic.

Also, even the sites that allow this kind of content, don't normally allow your personal information to be shared (aside from maybe the screen name you were on under when this occurred).

Lastly, if he put a Facebook address up on the screen and asked if it was you? Chances are it was a link that did nothing more than show you your own Facebook home page. If he himself clicked on that link, he'd see his own Facebook home page.

For these reasons, it's best to only accept friendship requests from those you know; not friends of friends, etc, unless the mutual friend(s) says they're trustworthy, etc.

So, What's the Take-Away Here?

Don't flash or take off your clothes on sites like this. If you're going to do it, you're still at risk, but less at risk. Furthermore, get to know the person you're showing yourself to, before you start showing yourself.

There is no fool-proof way to avoid it except staying dressed.

What Do I Do if This Has Happened to Me?

The best I can say is the following:
1) Change screen names on all social media sites you're a member of.
2) If you suspect a specific individual of being the culprit, delete and block them immediately.
3) If you can live with the humiliation of telling a parent, teacher or police, get them involved. There are things they can try to catch the person with. The chances are slim, but always worth a shot.

Again, as I said earlier, I am guilty of viewing such videos, but what sets me apart from the average viewer, is that I felt the need to warn possible victims here publicly. It's really all I can do apart from ceasing to view such material. Perhaps when I'm a married man again, I will. But in the meantime, please just be careful.

Until next time...