Online video

Promoting safe watching and sharing of online videos

YouTube PhoneAsk a room full of modern children what they’d like to do when they’re older, and at least one of them will say that they want to be a professional YouTuber. A few years ago, there was no such thing - but nowadays, professional YouTubers are a new form of celebrity and making a living producing online video is more than viable. Inspired by their online role-models, and made easy through phone apps and cameras, children are experimenting with creating and publishing their own videos.

As professionals, it’s our job to help ensure that children remain safe online, particularly when using online video services. Denying access to these services won’t teach young people to stay safe online; instead, we must teach discrete knowledge and skills.

Online video services
YouTube is by far the most popular provider of online video, but other services, such as Vimeo and Dailymotion, offer the same. Free to use, and originally set up as a video-dating website, YouTube makes its money through advertising and has around 300 hours of video uploaded to its platform every minute. It allows users to comment on each other’s videos, (see our recent article on live streaming) and enter partnerships in order to increase audience size. The vast majority of video sharing websites, including YouTube, are designed for 13+ year olds.

Watching videos: what are the risks?
Due to the openness of the Internet and despite the work of real-life moderators and the removal of videos that breach policies, young people may accidentally stumble across or find videos that are inappropriate, offensive or pornographic. Children may also come across videos that promote violence, bad language, particular viewpoints and religious opinions. Young people will also come across advertising, some of which may be targeted at adults.

A key part of watching online video is the social interaction through commenting; this therefore means that young people may be exposed to language that is unsuitable or that promotes bullying.

Children should be encouraged to report or talk to an adult about any content that they feel is inappropriate; in doing this, they are asking for support and advice. A young person may also need adult intervention if they viewed something that particularly upset or worried them.

Sharing video: what are the risks?
Publishing video online has been made very easy and most modern smart phones have tools build-in for this.

Before publishing a video, young people should be taught to consider whether:

  • The video reflects them positively (will they be proud of it in years to come?);
  • The video is respectful (could anyone find it offensive or upsetting?);
  • They’ve protected their private information within it;
  • Everyone in the video is happy for it to appear online;
  • They want to share the video with the world, their friends, or keep it private.
  • Children should also be taught how to respond to comments on their videos and what to do with comments that are upsetting or those written by trolls:

  • To not respond, since responses can fuel the fire;
  • To report or flag such messages where possible;
  • To save any evidence of online bullying, as this will be useful later;
  • To block users where needed;
  • To gain support from a trusted adult.
  • For more information, visit

    Written by Matt Lovegrove on June 14, 2018 10:45

    Live streaming: protecting children from exploitation

    What is live streaming, why do young people do it and what are the risks?

    Children Video StreamingIn figures release today by children's charity Barnardo's, their new survey conducted by YouGov found that 57% of 12-year-olds and more than one-in-four children aged 10 (28%) have admitted live streaming content over the Internet.

    The figures also revealed that almost a quarter of 10 to 16 year-olds (24%) say they or a friend have regretted posting live content on apps and websites. But what is live steaming and what is the attraction?

    What is live streaming?
    Live streaming is the broadcasting of live events as they happen, over the Internet, to a potentially unlimited audience base. Websites or apps can be used to live stream and, depending on particular preferences and settings, events can be broadcast to the world or a selected audience. Typically, mobile phones are used to live stream due to their portability and their built-in cameras, but webcams connected to laptops or computers can also be used.

    Why do young people live stream?
    Being able to share news, an event or an opinion with the world is particularly appealing to modern generations, who have grown up with mobile technologies and are used to being constantly connected. Inspired by online celebrity live streamers, young people may have a desire to share their lives online too and some want to follow in the steps of their online heroes.

    Young people may live stream whilst they are playing games so that their audiences can watch and share in their experiences, they may broadcast a special event, such as a party, or they may just want to interact with strangers.

    What are the risks?
    When broadcasting over the Internet, it’s easy for young people to feel safe due to physical boundaries and this itself leads to increased vulnerability. People may attempt to trick, blackmail or coerce children during a time when their typical defences are down, and this may lead to riskier behaviour. In cases of online grooming, predators have targeted children and used trickery and grooming techniques to get them to perform acts of a sexual nature in front of the camera. This is classified as a ‘non-contact’ abuse offence, but is still sexual abuse.

    Young people may not have an understanding of how what they are broadcasting could be saved and shared further and they may not know that people watching may not be who they say they are.

    Research this month from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) found that children as young as three had exposed themselves online, that 96% of the victims were girls and that in almost all of the cases that they investigated, children were broadcasting from their home environments. Read more at

    Helping young people keep safe
    It’s imperative that all young people using online services have a good understanding of key online safety messages:

  • The importance of protecting their private information;
  • The knowledge that people may pretend to be people they’re not;
  • The understanding of what they share online can be saved and shared by others;
  • The knowledge of what to do if they are being bullied or coerced;
  • The importance of asking for help if needed.
  • It’s also important that younger generations have a secure understanding of healthy relationships; that they shouldn’t feel under pressure to act in a certain way, that no one has the right to ask them to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable and that their bodies are theirs.

    Personal, social and health education, alongside quality sex and relationships education from an early age, could help reduce incidences of online abuse.

    Resources for professionals and parents

    Primary-aged children:

  • Play Like Share
  • I saw your willy video
  • Secondary-aged children:

  • Matt Thought He Knew

  • The E-safety Support membership package available from Safeguarding Essentials offers an extensive range of resources supporting Internet safety education including teaching resources and training for staff across a range of topics - Find out more

    To ensure you receive notifications when articles are published, join our free membership service today!

    Written by Matt Lovegrove on May 24, 2018 10:51

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