Livestreaming is becoming a very popular way for people to broadcast themselves on apps such as Instagram Live, Facebook Live, Periscope, Twitch and YouTube Live. People use these services to broadcast themselves to others, such as their friends, a certain group of people or the general public. Vloggers and celebrities communicate with their fans and disseminate certain messages, including marketing and advertising through livestreaming.

Livestreaming is also used as a means to communicate to the world what is happening at a specific moment in time. For example, livestreaming can be used to document breaking news stories. On many occasions this footage is used by some of the large media channels in order to document a breaking story.

With all online content, it’s really important to consider what the live streaming content consists of. 

If you’re viewing a livestream:

  1. Think before you watch – Remember that it is live and you can never be sure exactly what you might see or hear in the video.
  2. Use reporting tools – If you feel anything in the live stream is offensive, abusive or breaks the rules of the service you are watching it on then report it. You can report the video but you can also report individual comments.
  3. Make positive choices – If you comment on a livestream, think carefully about how that will affect the person/people in the video and might reflect on you.
  4. Tell someone – If you experience anything during a livestream that makes you worried, upset or uncomfortable then always tell a trusted adult.

If you choose to livestream:

  1. Protect your personal information – Think carefully about what you share about yourself through a livestream. Personal information might be given away by things you say during the stream, things you show on camera or even from clues in the background.
  2. Decide who you share with – Think about who may be able to view your livestream and make use of privacy settings to manage which users might be able to join.
  3. Think before you stream – Remember that you are broadcasting live and that you can’t edit your video. While you can remove a livestream after it has finished and been posted to your profile, you can’t remove what people have already watched while it is live. It is important to consider that others could record your livestream and keep a copy even after your stream has ended or expired.
  4. Use the tools – Explore the tools available on the service you are using to livestream. Many have options to allow you to turn off comments completely or hide comments from view and to remove viewers from your livestream. There may also be settings to control how details of your livestream are shared before, during and after it has ended.
  5. Make positive choices – Streaming live video allows you to film anything around you and share it in real time. Always consider what you choose to livestream; particularly if it includes other people or events. How will your livestream affect your viewers? How might your livestream affect other people captured on film? What comments might you get as a result?

Read top tips from young people about how to use livestreaming services safely and responsibly.