The dangers of live streaming video are there for everyone, but it is especially important to understand them when children are involved.
It seems like every phone comes equipped with a camera these days. Connecting with video is only getting easier and easier. Apps like Periscope, YouNow, Facebook Live, and hundreds of others are allowing us to connect in ways that past generations couldn’t imagine. Nearly anyone can live video chat, with very little barriers.
Live-streaming is no place for an unsupervised child. Even with supervision, there can be no promise of safety. Live-streamed video is not moderated. Both the broadcaster and their viewers are experiencing the interaction in real time. There is no filter; anything can happen, and nobody can stop it.
Some of the dangers of live streaming include:
- Children being followed and interacting with adults – most of these conversations are inappropriate and downright creepy. Live-streaming is a dream come true for online predators. They’re able to view the person in an unedited, intimate moment and there is little or no incriminating data once it is done.
- Some kids give out their social media information with their entire audience. (A child giving out their Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram information like this, allows any stranger a way to find, connect and follow your child online.)
- Lots of kids broadcast from their bedrooms. A child’s bedroom is no place for strangers, both in person or virtually – it is a very private space and should remain that way. Any adult that is not uncomfortable seeing what kids are doing in their bedrooms, is not someone you want interacting with your children.
- Broadcasting live also opens your kids to online bullies and trolls. These individuals are cruel and can harm a child’s self-esteem.
- Some kids announce when they are home alone or when parents are going away. When this is announced in combination with them giving out other personal details, it makes it easy for unsavory individuals to find your child in the real world at a time when they are alone and vulnerable.
It is important to stay involved in your child’s online life. Be aware of the apps your kids have on their devices. Be certain to use the proper safety settings and always disable location services on your child’s device.
As always, I suggest you download any app your child is using and try it out for yourself – if you would prefer to have our experts give you the what you need to know, check out our book, Cyber Smart Parents: A Guide to Internet Safety for Kids.