The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) wants to make parents aware of concerns about youth using a popular live streaming mobile app Live.me. The app allows its users to post live broadcasts and receive “tips” from other users for completing specific tasks during live broadcasts. These “tips” are in the form “gold coins” and can be exchanged for money. Users then have the ability to either delete the recording of the live broadcast or post it on their profile. The app also does not have any restrictions on the age an individual needs to be to create an account.
Understandably, this app has attracted youth who may not be equipped to understand the dangers of recording and sharing sexual videos or engaging in sexual activity while streaming live video feeds. They need to understand that anyone on the other end of the live feed can capture a still image or video of them engaged in that activity — all without their knowledge.
In many cases, the Cybertip.ca program has also seen an intersect between the use of the Live.me app and the use of other live streaming or social media apps (such as YouNow, Periscope, Musical.ly, etc.) in order to increase followers. It’s important for parents to be aware that the use of these apps by youth may pose different risks based on the variety of features they offer.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection strongly suggests that parents consider the following when trusting their child with a personal mobile device:
- Having conversations about the risks associated to complying with requests from other users and communicating with other users online whom the youth does not know offline;
- Reviewing and utilizing any apps prior to allowing their child to download it on their personal device;
- Ensuring that any apps being used by their child is age-appropriate;
- Reinforcing and encouraging their child to bring forward any concerns that they encounter;
- Stressing that they are always there to help their child through any difficult situation they may encounter both online and offline.
For more information on the risks youth face when utilizing live streaming applications, please see our brochure titled Keeping Teens Safe from Online Sexual Exploitation online and safety sheets on the topics of apps and online extortion.