Do your children, tweens, or teens often talk about live streaming? Wondering exactly what it involves and if your children are safe when they do it? Although live streaming can open up an exciting world of connection with online friends and other YouTubers, bloggers/vloggers, and gamers, there ARE risks involved.
Use our handy parent’s guide to make sure that your child, tween, or teen is having a positive experience online and not putting themselves or your family and privacy at risk!
What Is Live Streaming (And Why Is Everyone into It)?
The basic definition of a live stream is when an internet user transmits or receives live audio and video coverage of a game or event over the internet. Often, this involves live streaming an activity, convention, or game performance. Kids enjoy this as it is live footage of them in real life, which they can share privately with friends.
Sites and apps also allow users to broadcast live to others they do not know. This concept of “real-time” footage is a draw for most of the kids who view or transmit live stream videos.
It can feel more authentic and intimate than watching a highly produced YouTube video, etc. Gamers can watch players who are better than they are at a game and learn new skills, tricks, or cheats.
Most Popular Live Streaming Apps
Every day, new apps and trends emerge and become well-known, but the tried and tested platforms still reign supreme. Many people live stream through Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Instagram Live Stories, Twitch, Let’s Play, ooVoo, Periscope, Livestream, StreamNow, Broadcast Me, Alively, Hang w/, Twitch TV, Streamago, Xbox One, Twitch, Ustream, PlayStation and more. Recognize any of those platforms and wonder if your child is using them?
Dangers of Live Streaming
It is difficult to enforce safety rules unless you know exactly what your child is doing. Although you might think your teen or tween is merely using their computer or Xbox with headphones on, they might be live streaming. This means that when you walk into their room or the computer or gaming area, your conversation could be streamed or your face and body showed on camera without you even being aware of it!
How to Stay Safe When Live Streaming
Review Current Apps
Ask your child what apps they live stream on. If you aren’t sure that they will tell you the truth, ask to review their phone, apps, or computer and video game settings, then compare the results with our list of the most popular live-streaming apps.
If you find matches, ask them, and check their safety settings. If they want to live stream and haven’t yet, pick the app that works best with your concerns as a parent.
Many live-streaming apps and sites require users to be age 13 and up. However, all a child has to do is use a fake birthdate, and they can skip those restrictions.
Consider your child’s age, abilities, and maturity level when deciding if you will allow live streaming. Perhaps you will allow viewing of live streams, but not for your child to make their videos until they reach of age.
The appeal of live streaming is that content is fresh, “raw” and live. It comes across as more natural than highly produced content. Kids like this, it feels like hanging out with friends or real people. However, you need to discuss what live content requires.
Will you allow a webcam or audio streaming only? If a webcam is enabled, require that the background be free from personal information (name, school, city, family details) and that every person in the home is informed, so they don’t disclose personal or private information while the camera is on.
Who is Watching?
Most kids want a following so they can fulfill their (not so secret) pipe dream of being “online famous” or an eventual Influencer! However, who is watching them?
Friends they know in person are the safest, but many kids call their online friends “friends”, even though they could not be who they claim to be. Make sure that you look at the profiles for who is following your child and adjust settings or rules accordingly.
Who Are They Watching?
There are mature live streamers that children often watch. Look for live stream channels that are considered clean and PG for content. If you’re unsure, wait 5-10 minutes of the live stream yourself or search the live streamers name or username.
Language and Behavior
Many live streamers use colorful language. Just as you want to see who your child is watching, beware of colorful language, and cuss words.
Even if your child’s live stream is safe for now, keep checking in with them. Reiterate that they should never share personal information about themselves or their family with anyone they meet online or while live streaming! Regularly check their accounts at specific intervals (weekly, monthly, etc.).
Online Reputation Management
Colleges now often search for social profiles. Whether college is just around the corner or some time from now, remind your child that their behavior online builds an online reputation and that others take note. Talk to them about maintaining their value system and making good choices.
Concerned your child is telling you the truth about their online behavior? Search their username on Social Catfish and find hidden profiles.
Also, review anyone they communicate with online who they/and you do not know personally. Social Catfish can protect you by giving you crucial background information about the people your children talks to online!