The Dangers Of Live Streaming All Parents Should Know About

The Dangers Of Live Streaming All Parents Should Know About

The key is to teach your teen how to fend for themselves should they encounter the dangers of live streaming

With the advancement of technology comes all sorts of new comforts: paying by apps, social media and even apps that help to deliver your groceries. Among the youth of today, though, there’s another rising trend: live-streaming videos. The dangers of live streaming, however, still remain hidden. Parents should be more cautious in shielding their tweens and teens who are vulnerable to being exploited by others and exposing themselves to sexually inappropriate content.

What is live streaming? Why do youth live-stream themselves?

In essence, live-streaming apps allow kids to broadcast their private activities like chatting idly, singing, or even finishing their assignments in real-time. 

dangers of live streaming

Live streaming enables other people around the internet to have a look and interact with the broadcaster in their private time. | Image Source: CNA

For many teenagers, live streaming is more than just a hobby. It’s a way of meeting “new people”. Live streaming also enables kids to become included within the local community, and even connect with new people face-to-face.

As such, it makes sense that many young people spend a lot of time on live-streaming apps daily. Unfortunately, there are hidden dangers of live streaming which most kids and their parents aren’t aware of.

Dangers of live streaming: Exposure to inappropriate content

For instance, a male stranger displayed his private areas to one teenage girl. She even witnessed a couple engaging in sexual intercourse.

Clearly, this sort of streaming isn’t permitted, but inappropriate content still gets streamed because “the administrators can’t stop what they can’t see first”, according to the girl.

dangers of live streaming

Dangers of live streaming: exposure to pornographic content, especially for underaged viewers. | Image Source: Stock Photo

Another 18-year-old live streaming teenager, who only wished to be identified as Ms Koh, also witnessed something horrific. She witnessed her niece, aged 10, using a live-streaming app – and watching someone else strip their clothing.

Eventually, she came to understand that one of her female peers was also requested to undress while playing with the live-streaming app.

The teen is now worried that app moderators are unable to fully “moderate the live streams 24/7 (for) obscene and sexual content”, and that it could let underaged viewers like her niece think that there is nothing wrong about online stripping.

Other dangers of live streaming

The dangers of live streaming don’t just lie in real-time pornography, though. Viewers – whether teens or not – who frequently use live-streaming apps may risk:

  • unintentionally or indirectly revealing sensitive information, like personal details
  • becoming attracted to “virtual gifts” in exchange of doing something else in return.
  • spending money on live-streaming apps. China’s live-streaming celebrities are able to obtain over S$960,000 annually.

Which apps are used for live streaming in Singapore? Are they doing anything about this issue?

Surprisingly, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube aren’t the most popular live-streaming networks in Singapore. In fact, the most popular live-streaming platforms are apps which allow people to socialise with strangers, chat with them in real-time and play games, like: 

  • Bigo Live, which requires users to be at least 17;
  • 17 Live, which also requires users to be at least 17
  • YouNow which only needs users to be at least 12
  • Belive which only needs users to be at least 12
  • and Uplive.

Normally, streaming companies have systems in place to limit obscene or pornographic content. Here are a few examples:

  • M17 Entertainment uses technology to detect inappropriate content that people post.
  • BeLive, also employs a team to moderate inappropriate content. According to Ken Ang, Belive’s chief operating officer,  the team monitor streams “24/7” and that their technology uses its “own image recognition tools” to recognise nude images. 
  • Bigo Live is no different, employing a group of “censorship officers” to examine and filter streams. They also have censorship technology that makes use of artificial intelligence to scan faces and predict how old the user actually is.

We know you’re worried about the dangers of live streaming, parents

Perhaps this is the first time you’ve heard of live-streaming apps and the dangers of live streaming. You might be worried that:

  • anyone around the globe can invade your child’s privacy 
  • your child might be coerced to undress or be exposed to pornographic content
  • your child might learn the wrong things from unsavoury characters 
  • students will be able to expose their exact location if they live-stream in school while clad with their uniform –  leading to all sorts of dangers
  • children reveal sensitive information which can be used against them
  • live streaming can interrupt with your child’s studies

But rest assured that even though the dangers of live streaming are present, there are ways for you to help your child in case they ever encounter them.

Tips to help parents curb the dangers of live streaming

dangers of live streaming

How can parents teach their kids about the dangers of live streaming? The key is to talk to them as openly and honestly as possible. | Image Source: Stock Photo

References: Channel News Asia


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