Over the last few months it’s possible that your child has become more familiar with recording elements of their everyday lives. The term vlogging ,which is essentially videoing your every day life is becoming increasingly popular among those in their late teens and early 20’s. Being exposed to the live element of the online world can start a lot earlier than that. Does your child enjoy spending time using apps that have a ‘live’ element to them? This live element is known as streaming. It usually involves creating short videos and sharing them with friends via an app. It can also refer to communicating via video with other users of the app. These are not always people that your child will know personally. So, how can you make sure that your child stays safe if they are using live streaming apps?
You will more than likely have started the conversation with your child 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. Live streaming can both allow your child to watch live broadcast and also broadcast themselves, and there are risks to be aware of in both activities. Live video can be faked, so encourage your child to think carefully why an unknown person might want to video chat with them. If a site has privacy settings, always make sure your children use them to control who can contact them.
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 child 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.
Consider these safety steps when it comes to your child using live streaming apps:
- Enable safety settings and disable locations services.
- Open a live streaming account yourself in order to keep an eye on your child.
- Explain that they should not agree to meet people through the app.
- When broadcasting, make sure to leave out any landmarks or identifiable locations.
Capturing life through a variety of lenses is becoming more common. Helping your child to equip themselves with the tools to stay safe online, regardless of the medium they are using is a great gift!