What is live streaming, why do young people do it and what are the risks?
In 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 www.iwf.org.uk
Helping young people keep safe
It’s imperative that all young people using online services have a good understanding of key online safety messages:
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
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
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