Live streaming apps like Facebook Live and Periscope are becoming increasingly popular among teenagers. Apps like these offer an opportunity to immediately share what is happening in a teenager’s life via video with friends. Live streaming apps are bringing communication to a whole new level, but what do parents need to be aware of to ensure that their child stays safe while using such apps?
Two examples of the most popular live streaming apps are Facebook Live and Periscope.
Facebook Live – which is integrated into the Facebook app, allows users to record and share videos. People who are your Facebook friends receive notifications when you have posted a video using Facebook Live.
Periscope – which is owned by Twitter allows users to record and share videos with their followers on Twitter. Viewers of the videos can interact with the person who has broadcast them in real time. Material shared through Periscope can only be viewed for 24 hours. Essentially live streaming apps are a step up from interacting online with peers, they are adding an element of ‘real life’ to online communication. Given the growing competition between social media platforms the number of live streaming apps is bound to increase. So what do you need to be aware of to help ensure that your child stays safe if they are using a live streaming app?
You will more than likely have started the conversation with your teen about staying safe online well in advance of them using a live streaming app, but it’s worth revisiting the topic again, where live streaming apps are concerned. Remind your child of the importance of behaving the same as they do when they are online as they do when they are offline. Given the immediacy of live streaming there can be a temptation to get very caught up in the moment, record something and later regret it. It can be very difficult to permanently delete content and even if it appears to have been deleted it can be very quickly shared and, or screenshot. Remind your child not to share any personal information, for example their age, or address via the app. Encourage them to only share content with their friends and to be aware of the importance of activating any safety settings within the app, so that content they share can only be viewed by people they know. Essential here also is the importance of explaining to your teen that safety settings, while a help in staying safe, they are not a 100% protection and are no substitute for making smart safety decisions when they are online.
It’s particularly important to keep the conversation about staying safe online very current where teens are concerned; they will then feel more confident in confiding in you about what they are experiencing online. Having an open communication style with your teen will also help them to feel more confident in making decisions how they behave when they are online.
Live streaming apps, are just another form of online communication if your child knows how to stay safe online from an early age, they will be in a position to use all that they have learned to help them to stay safe when or if they use such apps.
The Zeeko Internet Safety Guide offers more detailed advice on keeping your child safe online. You can buy a copy of the book here.