One of the key ways young people may engage with livestreaming is through watching streams hosted by other people. In this case the young person is the audience or viewer of the stream.
What kind of livestreams might my child be watching?
Lots of young people enjoy watching livestreams. It's exciting and can help them feel like they're part of something.
- They may watch livestreams from their friends or family. Livestreaming can be a fun way to keep people you know up-to-date with what's going on in your life.
- They may watch livestreams from internet personalities or celebrities who use live video to communicate with their audiences and to showcase events, brands or projects they are involved with.
- They may watch livestreams of gameplay. Websites such as Twitch are hugely popular for watching videos of other people playing popular games. The footage will often show the game as it appears on the screen for the player, alongside a voiceover by the person playing. Sometimes video footage of the player can be seen too.
What are the risks of watching live video?
You can never be sure exactly what you might see or hear on a livestream or in the accompanying comments. There’s a risk young people might be exposed to inappropriate or adult content, explicit language or nudity.
It’s important young people think before they watch and know what to do if they experience something upsetting or inappropriate. For example they could make a report to the service they are using or speak to an adult they trust.
Lots of livestreaming services also provide a chat function alongside the video. Young people need to remember when participating in the chat that they may be in contact with people they haven't met before in the offline world and these people are still strangers. Young people need to be aware of what they should and shouldn’t share with strangers and the dangers of agreeing to meet up with someone they only know online.
Vloggers and celebrities communicate with their fans and disseminate certain messages, including marketing and advertising through livestreaming. Young people need to think critically about the content they’re seeing to recognise what is opinion and what is fact. Be aware that some livestreamers will also ask for money from viewers (as a donation or to support them in their livestreamed activities) and young people should know that they are never obliged to contribute.