Staying safe online when broadcasting to an audience
Livestreaming is when an individual or a group of people broadcast themselves or others to an audience online in real-time. Many social media platforms offer a livestreaming feature that is available to anyone but often used by gamers, celebrities or influencers to communicate with a chosen audience. Livestreaming can be an enjoyable way to share content with followers but can also present risks around privacy and coercion as well as potential harm towards those watching.
Best practices for parents and carers
Discuss protection of privacy
Livestreaming is a way to share video content as it is happening and unlike pre-recorded material, cannot be edited. It is important for young people to understand how personal information can be easily given out through a livestream, whether it’s through something in the background or through something that’s accidentally said during the stream. Be aware that viewers may be able to record or copy parts of the stream even after it has finished. Raise awareness around protecting information and ensuring their privacy is always a focus before going live.
The importance of saying no
When livestreaming, there can be dangers posed by predators online. The Internet Watch Foundation annual report has shown that children can be groomed or coerced into appearing naked on camera with material recorded and then used to blackmail or threaten young people. It is important for parents and carers to discuss the importance of saying no to someone online when asked to say or do something online that is inappropriate or when faced with something they do not feel comfortable with. Highlight how ending the broadcast or communication can take them out of the situation and confiding in yourself or a trusted adult can give them support.
Reporting harmful content
If a young person likes to watch livestreamed content, there is a risk of being exposed to harmful online content. This can be from the streamer themselves or comments from the audience watching. Discuss how to report content as well as how to use privacy settings to help with setting some boundaries. Most online platforms will have a reporting procedure but for further support, if the content is legal but harmful, make sure to use Report Harmful Content. If the content in question contains child sexual abuse material, report to the IWF
Establishing a consistent dialogue about internet safety can better prepare your family for staying safe online. Try to understand how they use digital technologies and get a better understanding of what apps and content they enjoy being a part of. Raising awareness around internet safety can encourage young people to critically think about what risks may be associated with livestreaming and where to go to for support if they need it.
Best practices for schools
Understand the apps
Whether it’s Instagram, YouTube, TikTok or Twitch, having a broad understanding of how livestreaming works can help you to support students with incidents and reporting.
Discuss the topic
Create discussion around livestreaming, why people do it, what risks may be faced, importance of privacy and where to go to for help.
Encourage positive experiences
Encourage students to use livestreaming for positive experiences and how content should not be used to spread hate or harm towards others.
Useful links from the UK Safer Internet Centre and other organisations about livestreaming
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