Apps with live-streaming, such as Facebook, Periscope and Instagram, let users film and broadcast videos in ‘real time’ - while an event is happening. It’s becoming one of the most popular forms of communication for children and young people.
People who view the video can usually post comments or questions that instantly appear on the screen for the audience and broadcaster to see and respond to. Some sites only show videos at the time they’re filmed, while others allow them to be kept for longer and replayed at a later date.
Many parents and young people have rasied concerns about live-streaming. Nearly half the young people who reviewed a live-streaming site for Net Aware 2017 reported seeing violence and hatred. One third reported coming across sexual content. As content is shared in real time, it’s very hard for the platforms to moderate it. Users can’t control the content they’re about to see, or what the comments on the video might say.
While live-streaming can be a fun and exciting way to communicate, young people can be exposed to dangers such as bullying, talking to strangers and seeing inappropriate or upsetting material.
Tips to help keep your children safe when using live-streaming sites
There are several things you can do to help keep your child safe if they’re live-streaming:
- Talk to your child regularly about live-streaming and what they are watching, including highlighting the risks.
- Let them know they can come to you or another trusted adult if they’re feeling worried or upset by anything they have seen.
- Help your child understand what behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable when live-streaming.
- Ensure that your child understands the importance of not sharing personal information such as wearing school uniform, age, location, phone number or address, as this could allow strangers to identify them.
- Check for the privacy settings and make sure they are in place to prevent your child from sharing videos with strangers.
- Ensure that your child’s location settings are turned off so they cannot be tracked. There should be an option to disable location settings in the app or on the device.
If you want to hear what parents and children think of the most popular live-streaming apps, you can use our category filter on Net Aware.
For more information on live-streaming, or how you can make live-streaming apps safer for your children, you can speak to an expert advisor - call our free O2 NSPCC Online Safety Helpline on 0808 800 5002. You can also visit an O2 Guru in store, even if you’re not an O2 customer. Book your appointment here.