Keeping Young People Safe Online

Video and Livestreaming

Livestreaming and video creation are popular ways for people, including young individuals, to express themselves and share their experiences. Livestreaming involves broadcasting live footage, while videos are pre-recorded and shared on platforms like Snapchat, Instagram Reels, and group chats. These forms of media provide young people with opportunities to connect and showcase their talents and perspectives. Popular livestreaming platforms include TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch which are often used by celebrities, influencers, and gamers to communicate with their audiences or to build or promote a brand. Livestreaming or ‘going live’ is popular among young people and there are two key ways that they can engage:
  • Watching/viewing: livestreaming can be a fun and easy source of entertainment that can help people connect and make them feel part of something. Livestreams can show others doing something, like cooking, playing music or video games. People watching livestreams can interact by liking, sharing comments, or on some platforms by sending gifts.
  • Hosting/creating: some young people host livestreams to express themselves, connect with people or to build a following.
Both livestreaming and sharing video content can be an enjoyable and exciting way to engage with people but it can also present risks around privacy, communication with strangers, negative comments and exposure to inappropriate content. It is crucial to understand these risks and what you can do to help protect the young people in your care.

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What you need to know

By understanding the landscape of livestreaming and video creation and recognising the potential risks involved, parents and safeguarding professionals can create a safe and positive environment for young people to engage in these activities while promoting responsible online behaviour and healthy habits. Things to consider:
  • The Livestreaming and Video Landscape: Gain a basic understanding of livestreaming and video creation, including popular platforms, and their appeal among young people. Familiarise yourself with the features and functionalities of platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Discord and group chats that allow young individuals to create and share videos.
  • Influence on Behaviour: Creating a video or broadcasting yourself can be exciting and fun for young people to express themselves and connect with others. However, it can encourage something called the “online disinhibition effect.” This happens when a person feels less restraint on the internet than they would in a face-to-face interaction. Helping the young person in your care to understand how the online world influences their behaviour is vital in supporting them stay safer online.
  • Protecting personal information: Remind young people to be aware of what is in the background of their video content and to protect their personal information if their audience asks personal questions. Help young people recognise and respond to the expectation (and pressure) to be entertaining or authentic during livestreams. Ask them to livestream in a shared room at home, rather than their bedroom, which is more private.
  • The commercial aspect of livestreaming: Some streamers will ask and encourage viewers to send monetary gifts, or use their influence to encourage young people to buy items from them. Young people should never feel pressured or obligated to spend money.
  • Block and report: Knowing how to block and report is essential when it comes to livestreaming and uploading videos. Comments on livestreams are not usually moderated and they may be upsetting. There may be instances of inappropriate behaviour from adults and other young people during livestreams. Have a conversation with your young person about reporting and blocking mechanisms.
  • Setting boundaries and screen time: Establish clear guidelines for screen time. Encourage a healthy balance between creating and watching video or livestreamed content and other offline activities. Establishing consistent routines and limits can help prevent potential negative impacts.