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Let’s start with the basics: video sharing apps allow people to share and edit videos with others.  

The majority of popular short-form video-sharing apps have the same features as you may have seen on TikTok, which are used for lip-syncing, dancing, and sharing motivational videos. But whilst TikTok may be the most well known of these short-form (15-30 seconds) video apps, there are plenty of others that you may not know much about. 

These apps have gained popularity in the last few years (and even more so during lockdown) because there is a sense of community and creativity within them; people can comment on the videos and share them on other social media platforms.  

Read on to find out more about these apps, how they are similar, and what distinguishes them from one another.  

TikTok 

TikTok is the most famous video-sharing app right now. It is hugely popular with estimates suggesting it has anything from 500 million to 1 billion monthly active users. However, the app has been at the centre of huge privacy concerns over the way it handles user data. More recently, it was used as a platform to share a distressing video involving a suicide. 

What you need to know: 

  • Accounts are ‘public’ by default on sign up, which means anyone can see your videos, contact you or know your location once you have set up an account.  
  • Children may come across videos which contain swearing and/or sexually suggestive content that is inappropriate for their age.  
  • In-app purchases mean that users can buy coins, using real money, to purchase virtual gifts. These range from £0.99 to £93.99 and can quickly add up. 
  • Commenting on videos and direct messaging makes it easy for online predators to talk to children.  

Instagram Reels 

In August 2020, Instagram launched a new feature known as Reels. Using Reels, users can upload a short video clip of 15 or 30 seconds with music in the background, after which filters can be added to make videos more appealing.  

Reels is integrated into Instagram itself via the Stories feature - it is not a stand-alone app, and looks similar to TikTok. 

What you need to know:

  • It’s got an addictive feel. Reels combines the appeal of two widely used apps (TikTok and Instagram), making it more difficult for children to disengage.  
  • If an account is public, Reels may appear on the Explore tab and could be shared with millions of strangers.  
  • Sharing their live location could reveal where a child is to anybody who views their video.  
  • Reels could encourage direct messages from others, including people that children don’t know.  

Byte 

Byte allows users known as “Byters” to watch and create short looping videos known as “Bytes”. Similar to TikTok and Reels, the videos can be 6 to 16 seconds in length. Users can comment on a video and share it to other social media platforms which is known as a “Rebyte”.  

Byte only allows users to chat in the comments section of the video; private messaging is not available. 

What you need to know: 

  • There are no privacy settings which means all profiles are automatically public and anybody can view your child’s videos.  
  • The video feed is user-generated and may include mature or age-inappropriate content (recommended age rating is 17+). 
  • A shorter video length might mean children carry out more extreme/dangerous activities in order to get noticed in order to achieve greater fame. 
  • Users might post hurtful or negative comments on videos which aren’t moderated as well as other apps.  

Triller 

Unlike the other apps, Triller is more focused on creating music videos. Users can film multiple takes of themselves using AI: the app will then automatically compile the best clips and turn it into a music video. Users can create videos from the app, or upload music from Apple Music and Spotify. 

What you need to know:

  • Gold coins are the currency in Triller, and can be purchased in the app with packages ranging from $0.99 to $99.99.  
  • Children can create public videos through the creator channel which allows them to monetise videos but also means strangers can view them.  
  • Triller does allow private messaging which means anybody could potentially speak to your child in private.  
  • As videos can be based on any type of music, children can be subjected to age-inappropriate content including profanity, drugs, and alcohol references. 

 
To find out more about these apps, including the risks they pose and the way adults can tackle them, check out our free online safety guides here.

Posted by Pete Badh

#News

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