The internet is a daunting place for children and parents alike, here Sue from Safe in Your Hands talks us through safety whilst livestreaming…

1 – Talk regularly with your children. Talk to your children about how they use technology and what their digital life is like. This can include what apps they are using, who their friends are and who they follow.

2 – Before you livestream protect your personal information. It is really important that children understand the risks of live streaming. Livestreaming has become very popular with young people as a means to communicate and to broadcast themselves. It is important to note that livestreaming cannot be edited and you can’t erase what people have already seen. Children need to be aware that they can give personal information away by things that they say or things in the background of their broadcast. It is also important to highlight that livestreams can be recorded by other people and then copied even after the stream has ended.

3 – Make an agreement about device usage. Parents and children can make a family agreement, where the whole family can get involved in deciding and making promises about whether to use livestreaming services, about who to use them with or where in the house it is ok to use them. It is important to note that children can both watch livestreams and broadcast themselves, both of these activities carry risks.

4 – Teach your child when to say no. Unfortunately children can get groomed online or coerced into appearing naked on camera. They may also be asked to perform suggestive acts over the webcam. This can be then recorded and then used to blackmail or threaten your child. It is crucial for parents and carers to be aware of their child’s use of technology and talk and educate their children to the dangers that it might pose. It is important to tell your child that they have every right to say ‘NO’ at any time during a livestream and that they can end the chat or broadcast. Make sure that your child knows they can come to you for support, it is never too late to speak up.

5 – Report abusive content. Talk to your child about how they can report abusive or offensive material on whichever service they are livestreaming on. Go to the privacy settings on the apps that they are using. If your child sees some child sexual abuse content they must report this to the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) – this takes about 2 mins and is completely anonymous.

6 – Use the tools that are available to you. No matter what device you and your children are using there are tools to help you manage these. Researching how to activate parental controls for your devices and broadband is a good start and getting children to set their apps to private instead of having them public.

Safe in Your Hands is a Bath based company delivering adult and children safeguarding training packages to to schools, businesses and other practitioners wishing to enhance their knowledge about safeguarding in areas such as internet safety, domestic abuse and sexual exploitation. Contact Sue on 07868197995 or safeinyourhands@hotmail.com for further information.