As part of our work as one of three charities in the UK Safer Internet Centre, we have today launched some research that reveals that livestreaming services launched in the last year by YouTube, Facebook and Instagram are already a significant trend among UK youth.
The survey of 500 children and young people aged 8-17 years conducted by Populus found that YouTube Live is the most popular service for watching others livestream, while Instagram Live is the most popular service that children use to ‘go live’ themselves.
Livestreaming has become increasingly popular in the last year since social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram introduced it as a feature, with a range of people using this feature including young people, celebrities and gamers.
In addition to the survey, Childnet Digital Leaders were invited to take part in an online consultation where they shared their experiences of livestreaming, both watching livestreams and going live. 21 Digital Leaders aged 11-18 years participated, sharing their experiences and their advice for their peers.
Watching Livestreaming – from friends to celebrities
The research reveals that watching others livestreaming is far more popular than young people livestreaming themselves, with children watching celebrities, vloggers and gamers, as well as their friends and family.
As one 11 year old girl explained, “I watched my friend do a live stream on Musical.ly at their sleepover”.
YouTube Live is the most popular service for watching others livestream, with 44% of 8-17 year olds using this. Overall teenagers are most likely to watch others livestreaming. Almost half of teens aged 13-17 years have watched livestreams on YouTube (47%), compared to around a third (32%) of 8-12 year olds.
Going Live – connecting with others in a new way
It was found that many children and young people are using livestreaming services to ‘go live’, whether that is sharing their game play or sharing information about their lives with their friends and family.
One 13 year old girl said: “I like livestreaming because I like showing my friends and family what I'm doing throughout the day, and so I can connect with them on a daily basis.”
Instagram Live is the most popular service that children use to ‘go live’ themselves, with 11% of 8-17 year olds saying they had done this on Instagram, with the second most popular service - Facebook Live - being used by 9% of 8-17 year olds.
Staying safe whilst livestreaming
Like many other aspects of being online, livestreaming offers many positive opportunities for young people to connect and engage but there are also potential risks. As livestreaming becomes an emerging feature of young people’s online experiences, it is essential that children are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to make positive choices when livestreaming.
To empower other children to stay safe, young people who are trained as peer educators through our Childnet Digital Leaders Programme have created top tips for using livestreaming services safely and responsibly. We have also published further advice for young people about this issue.
Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet and a Director in the UK Safer Internet Centre, said:
“Whilst livestreaming has captured headlines, there has been little research conducted into young people’s actual experiences on the various platforms. This research provides important new insights into children and young people’s experiences of this emerging trend. It is clear that there are many positive ways that children are engaging with livestreaming, from sharing their game play with others to interacting with their favourite celebrities. However, there are potential risks and it is essential that we equip children with the skills and confidence they need to use livestreaming services safely, responsibly and positively. We also need to continue listening to children to ensure we understand their needs and concerns in this fast-changing space.”