Periscope and Meerkat Apps: Understand them now as your kids will!

If you are up to speed with social media then you would have heard of both of these live streaming apps, if you haven't then in simple terms they are an easy way to broadcast live video on the internet from your smartphone or tablet.

Credit: Meerkat

Credit: Meerkat

They are great apps and a nice alternative to the current social apps out there, but they also have their down sides.  There is a lot of adult content being shared on these and very easy to find!  You would therefore need to be aware of the downfall of these and what to watch out for especially where your children / teens are concerned.

Both apps let you tune in to other peoples streams, for both you need a Twitter account and content you share will also be shared on Twitter.  So there are considerations that need to be made before using the apps.

Credit: Periscope

Credit: Periscope

The folks at saferinternet.org.uk have put together this post which will guide you things to consider, but in summary they are:

  1. Think before you broadcast - Your live stream can be seen by anyone who can access the service, think about what you are streaming and where from!  Remember this can be recorded (if somebody really wanted to) and then shared elsewhere which you would have no control over! 
  2. Consider your privacy - Think about who you want to see the broadcast, Periscope has a private option, there is a padlock you can click before you start streaming and select your followers who you want to be able to access this, but services like Meerkat do not!  
  3. Report any concerns - If you are concerned by anything you see then report the concerns to the service provider, Periscope make this very easy by scrolling to the bottom of the broadcast page and clicking the report badge! Meerkat does not
  4. Blocking is your friend - This is easier on Periscope than Meerkat, on Periscope click on the gears icon within a users profile and click block user!  Meerkat at the moment appears to be light on all of these settings so another point that should be considered! 
  5. And as Safer Internet say, its never too late to tell someone-  Remember if you are not an adult or you are an adult reading this, it is never to late to tell a trusted adult about what you have seen or if you don't have this support then you can speak to ChildLine online here or call 0800 11 11, remember if it is serious you can also report concerns to CEOP, the polices Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, here

From my experience using both apps it is clear that Periscope certainly has more controls than Meerkat but don't think this is safer just because of this.

Its always best to talk to children / teens about using these networks and good for you to have a working knowledge so you can understand the risks and positive side of both.

I would also recommend having a look at Safer Internets site for all different guides to staying safe online.

Any questions feel free to get in touch!