School closures across the UK have placed an extra focus on parents, carers and trusted adults in relation to keeping their children occupied throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Social distancing measures imposed by the government means activities such as visiting parks, play areas or meeting with friends to play is strictly off limits.
Naturally, because of this, there will be a larger amount of free time at the disposal of young people whilst at home, which inevitably means more time online or in front of a screen. Obvious modes of entertainment include playing video games, watching TV or catching up on social media.
In the latter case, more so now than ever, this is likely to include live streaming.
What is live streaming?
In simple terms, live streaming works by someone recording a real-time video of themselves from their mobile phone, computer, tablet or games console and then broadcasting it through an app or website.
The video is essentially streamed ‘live’ to the world or whoever wants to watch it.
Why might children use live streaming?
Well, it’s a great way to keep in touch and speak to family and friends remotely live time. Given the inability to go and visit our loved ones, both children and adults are finding alternative ways to see them as much as they can using the technology at their disposal.
And it’s not just limited to friends and family. Celebrities live-stream and you can even watch concerts live-time.
What are the risks of live streaming?
There are a huge number of apps and websites out there now which accommodate a live streaming service. YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Live.ME, BIGO Live, TikTok, Omegle. The list goes one. Houseparty, which until recently wasn’t very well known, has seen a significant increase in users over the last week and at one point was number 1 on the app store.
An obvious risk with live streaming is that what is being viewed is live and not pre-recorded. This means that there isn’t a 100% guarantee on ensuring that the content can be filtered to align with age restrictions so there’s always a chance children may be susceptible to seeing inappropriate or sexually related material.
Some live streaming platforms are designed for interaction, with commenting and live chats a prominent feature. The anonymous nature and lack of identification required to sign up to some of the apps can also make bullying online easier, increase the risk of children being groomed and leave the potential for children to be manipulated into doing things they shouldn’t.
Our Live Streaming #WakeUpWednesday Guide
It’s expected that parents and carers will want to know more about live streaming at such as crucial time. It’s important that they can take the necessary steps to protect their children and ensure they are able to enjoy the benefits of live streaming in a safe and secure environment. That’s why our #WakeUpWednesday Live Streaming online safety guide is the perfect resource to help allay any fears and support adults in keeping their children safe online.
Our top tips for parents and carers include ways of protecting their personal information, implementing privacy settings and continuous dialogue around some of the safer use and what to look out for.
To view and download your free copy of our Live Streaming #WakeUpWednesday guide, please click here.
Is your school in need of additional support during the coronavirus outbreak?
It’s our mission at National Online Safety to ensure children are kept safe online. This includes both when they are at school and now even more so, when they are at home.
As a school, its important that you continue to encourage online learning and education around online harms and dangers, particularly in these uncertain times and now that many children at remote learning.
But is your school confident in its ability to deliver the key messages around online safety? Are you complying with relevant statutory guidance and doing all you can to ensure you are safeguarding children remotely? Have all your staff completed role specific online safety training?
If you’re not confident in any of the above, National Online Safety can help. Our Certified School Programme is a perfect solution for schools during these unprecedented times.
Our Annual Online Safety Course for Parents & Carers (2019-20) will also allow for parents, carers and trusted adults to equip themselves with the necessary knowledge to protect their children online. Click here to find out more.
You can learn more about the programme here or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our Online Safety Consultants will be available to help.
Posted by Pete Badh