Live Streaming: Factsheet

Live streaming, sometimes known as “going live”, is the broadcasting of  live videos over the internet. Videos are unedited and are viewed in real time- similar to Live TV.

The clue is in the name – live streaming is live, which means there is no opportunity to edit or think critically about the content before it’s posted online. Anyone with a camera-enabled device and access to the internet can create and share a live video. This can make live videos unpredictable and very difficult to moderate. Therefore, it’s  possible for young people to see inappropriate  content that could shock or upset them – even if they didn’t initially set out to watch that type of video.

Why do people live stream?

Sharing videos instantly can feel exciting. Some people use live streaming as a way to showcase their talents, campaign about an issue or to spontaneously share their thoughts with an audience.

Work with young people who are thinking about live streaming

Whilst live streaming can be fun, it’s important to affirm to young people that live videos posted on the internet can remain there forever. They can be recorded, screen shot and shared without permission. Encourage young people to think carefully about what they choose to stream if they decide to go live. When something is live,  young people can be more susceptible to acting on impulse- doing something ‘in the moment’ they might later regret.

Some apps allow viewers to comment on a live video as it is broadcast. Often, the person in the video can read the comments as they are live streaming  and can feel a pressure to respond to comments as they are aware they are being watched.

Adult offenders sometimes use tricks and dares to coerce young  people into performing acts that involve nudity on camera;  sometimes offering them online gifts or ‘game points’ in exchange for videos. Younger children can be particularly susceptible to these tactics as it can be difficult for them to spot manipulative behaviour in others and stand up to pressure. It is important to remind young people that if someone asks them to remove clothing or do anything sexual, stop and tell someone. No matter who instigated the conversation or what’s been said, it is never the young person’s fault.  Encourage them tell and adult and report to CEOP.