Monday, April 22, 2024

Live Streaming Internet Safety Tips for Parents and Teens

As a parent of teens with smartphones, you probably think you’ve heard it all before when it comes to Internet safety; however, there are new concerns about teens that broadcast using live streaming apps like Facebook, Periscope, and now a new app called YouNow.

The YouNow app is described as a mix between the video-sharing sites; YouTube and the popular live streaming app, Periscope. YouNow is a free live streaming app and website. Users can sign-up for an account to broadcast their own videos or simply watch other users’ live broadcasts. YouNow is similar to a live chat room.

YouNow users can broadcast live videos of themselves doing anything from sleeping to dancing. They can also browse trending hash tags like, #eating, #singing, #dancing, #watchingtv etc. then follow, chat and connect with other broadcasters or fans.

By now, you are probably beginning to see the dangers created with this kind of live streaming. It can make teens very vulnerable to predators. Many users may not realize how much information they are giving away on the Internet without even saying anything: information that may lead a dangerous person right to their home. For example: teens who use the app to broadcast themselves dancing or singing live from their bedrooms may innocently reveal items in their rooms that help identify where they live or go to school.

The Southlake Police Department recommends that parents discuss the dangers of live streaming with their teens. It is also a great time to remind teens of all the inherent risks of using the Internet.

Internet Safety Tips for Parents and Teens

  • Never share personal information over the internet with strangers; including name, home address, where you go to school or phone number
  • Never agree to meet anyone you meet over the Internet. Unsafe adults can pretend to be a teenager luring you into danger
  • Never post pictures of yourself. Any picture that you post lives on the Internet forever and can be shared with your peers
  • Use strong passwords (and share the passwords with your parents) to prevent hacking by dangerous individuals
  • Be aware of what you are putting on the Internet. Remember, colleges and employers now use Facebook and other apps to see what kind of image you are portraying
  • Remind tweens and teens using online gaming apps can make them vulnerable. Predators can reach out to them through online gaming.
  • Be mindful of “checking in” on apps like Facebook and Periscope that predators can use to locate and follow teens.

Location services reveal your teens exact physical location. Even worse, the tracking system leaves a “trail of breadcrumbs” to identify the user’s exact movements, allowing the tracker to follow the user’s physical movements wherever they go.

Each of these popular apps offer safety tips including appropriate age and “Do’s and Don’ts”, however, parents are the ultimate line of defense when it comes to protecting their teens.

For more information on Internet safety log on to stay safe online.