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Periscope: A Child Protection Issue?

Live video streaming via an app known as Periscope, which is owned by social media giant Twitter, is very much the “in” thing at the moment. As the availability of internet software capable of live streaming increases, more and more people are using video in this way.

It sounds fun. You can broadcast from a gig, or share important moments with your friends there and then to make them part of your world. However, there are some concerns around Periscope because of fears that it could be—and possibly is being—used by predators to groom victims.

With the increase in the use of these apps, it is probably a good time to discuss Periscope, (and live streaming in general) with children and young people. The app has millions of users, so the chances are they will encounter it at some point, and as with all social media, it is important to empower them to make sensible choices.

Some key areas to discuss include:

• Do not use the location feature. Before you broadcast, always turn off the location function. Much like Snapchat, the app will show your location with quite a high level of precision if you do not do this
• Check the security settings. Periscope video can be viewed by anyone, even those who do not have the app by default, so make sure you understand how to limit who has access to your live broadcasts. This can be found in a drop-down menu usually in the top left of the broadcast screen
• Hearts are not to be traded for actions. Periscope is a social media-style app where users can give ‘hearts’ as approval of the video they are seeing. Approval is very important to young people and this could be exploited as a grooming technique to encourage inappropriate actions
• Think about your content. The rule to follow is, “Once on the internet, always on the internet.” It may seem ‘live’ and therefore temporary but it could be being recorded somewhere along chain
• Do not allow chat unless you are sure of who is online watching you. If users cannot speak to you, they cannot influence you
• Avoid linking to your Facebook or Twitter accounts

Periscope and other streaming apps are likely to proliferate in the near future, so now is a good time to start to build them into the advice and guidance we give to our children and young people when discussing online safety.