In recent years, live streaming, or “going Live”, has become increasingly popular among children and young people. Platforms like Twitch, YouTube Live, Instagram Live, and TikTok Live allow users to share real-time video and audio content with others around the world.

While live streaming can be a fun and creative way for kids to express themselves and connect with others, it can also pose significant risks to their safety and well-being. With the right precautions and guidance, children can enjoy the benefits of live streaming while avoiding the potential risks.

Some of the key risks associated with children going live include:

  • Vulnerability to cyberbullying: Live streaming can leave children open to cyberbullying, as it often exposes them to a large audience of online viewers who may leave hurtful comments or messages.
  • Exposure to inappropriate content: Children may accidentally expose themselves or others to inappropriate or sexually explicit content while live streaming. They may also be exposed to inappropriate comments or behavior from other users.
  • Exposure to predatory behaviour: Live streaming can put children at risk of being targeted by online predators who use anonymity or fake profiles to build relationships with young people and exploit or blackmail them for their own nefarious purposes.
  • Loss of privacy: Live streaming combined with a lack of digital literacy can compromise a child’s privacy by the unintentional sharing personal information, such as their location or identity, with a large online audience.
  • Poor mental health: The pressure of maintaining a live stream, responding to comments, and constantly interacting with viewers can be stressful for children and may have a negative impact on their mental health.

It’s important for parents and guardians to be aware of these risks and take steps to protect children from them. This can include setting strict privacy settings, monitoring online activity, and educating children about safe and responsible online behavior.

However, while there are risks associated with kids live streaming, there are also a few positive aspects to watching and participating in live streams.

Live streaming can be a creative outlet for children, allowing them to express themselves and showcase their talents to a global audience. This can be particularly beneficial for children who may struggle to express themselves in other ways, as speaking to a camera can often be less stressful than speaking to other people.

Streaming can help children connect with like-minded individuals from around the world and build a sense of community around shared interests. This can be particularly beneficial for children who may feel isolated or disconnected from their peers.

Depending on who is streaming, live streams can provide children with access to educational opportunities, such as watching live tutorials or Q&A sessions with experts in various fields.

Live streams and content creators can expose children to diverse perspectives and experiences from around the world, helping them develop empathy and understanding for people from different backgrounds, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses.

It should be noted that children under the age of 12 should only use the internet with adult supervision. Most social media accounts require a minimum age of 13 to sign up, and some social media platforms have restricted the ability to “Go Live” to users 18 and older in an effort to protect children online.

Overall, live streaming can provide children with a range of positive experiences and opportunities for growth and development, however, parents and caregivers need to acknowledge that these positive aspects come with potential risks and steps need to be taken to protect their children from harm.