live.ly - live video streaming

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
live.ly - live video streaming App Poster Image

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Live-broadcasting tool lets teens share too much.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 37 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The mechanics of the app are very simple to grasp, and users can log in automatically from their musical.ly accounts, making it a seamless transition. 

Violence

Terms of use prohibit violent streams, including threatening, violent, and hatred-based actions, but user-generated content may contain violent content.

Sex

User-generated content may contain sexual themes and images, and though the terms of service don't permit it, it's unclear how much oversight the developers truly maintain.

Language

Users are free to say what they want -- and that can include obscenities. During the time of review, only words such as "damn" and "boner" were heard and seen in comments, but almost anything can happen in a live stream.

Consumerism

Users can purchase "gifts" in the form of emojis using real-world money for other users of live.ly and musical.ly. Gifts are given during livestreams to encourage broadcasters to interact with viewers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Substance use isn't mentioned in the terms of use (though it is mentioned as a reason to block users), so broadcasters presumably are free to smoke, drink, and use drugs in their streams if they choose, though no drinking or drug use was seen during the review period.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that live.ly is live video-streaming in a social-networking app that allows users to broadcast live video to online friends and is made by the same developers as musical.ly - your music video community. Teens can log in with their musical.ly, Facebook, or Twitter account. The terms of use specify that users be at least 13 years old but that by using the service, they are affirming that they're 18, which makes little sense. As with any live-streaming service, there are concerns about what kids might see, what sort of information kids may give out, and the potential for bullying or inappropriate comments from viewers. The app, however, does warn users at the beginning of streams to not expose personal information and reminds them to "be nice," though no moderation or oversight is promised by the developers. Users can block viewers who post inappropriate comments, and viewers can report broadcasters if they are streaming iffy content, though the terms of use state that the developers have no obligation to do anything in response. See the privacy policy for full details.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 year old Written byAtlas October 19, 2016

Alarming

This app is not and should never be used by children. There should be laws against children on any social media, especially live. My child's tablet was goi... Continue reading
Adult Written byDebbie A. November 17, 2016

Perdofile hunting ground!!!

Do not let your children on here!!! A child close to me had been aproched by a man asking incorporate questions. It should not be allowed to happen it's si... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 25, 2016

Not for children or young teens!

This review is coming from a kid who tried this app. It can be very fun and slightly addictive. This is an inappropriate app. Please have your child or young te... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old August 8, 2016

bad at first then you fall in love

This fine app I tryed it one time No one joined ,I tryed it again and like 13 people joined then I fell in love with this app. you have to have musical.ly to do... Continue reading

What's it about?

LIVE.LY - LIVE VIDEO STREAMING users can live-stream everyday events to friends and followers. There are no screening tools, so users who watch the streams are never entirely sure what they're going to see, and though the terms of use clearly define what objectionable content is not allowed, it also states that the developers have no obligation to respond to reports about violators. Users also can comment on any stream via the app; streams are shown live as they happen. Streams are not saved and cannot be replayed, though that might change in future versions as it has with other, similar apps. 

Is it any good?

As with all live-streaming services, this one carries all the risks of broadcasting and viewing iffy content, and its one nod to safety is to warn its users not to give out personal information as each stream opens. It's an app entering a crowded market, but it seems to have legs because of its affiliation with musical.ly. As with all the others, kids much younger than 13 broadcast regularly, and most streams feature bored kids in their homes either on their phones, eating, goofing around with friends, or just responding to comments. During the time of review, no one was showcasing a talent or doing more than minimally interacting with viewers, though one had kids responding to dares posed by commenters. Yet, each stream seemed to have a substantial audience from 60 to 300 people. The main draw seems to be the immediate connection, real-time feedback, and followers/likes. Kids also give out their Snapchat handles and phone numbers to viewers, so strangers often get another means to connect with the broadcaster. Though the streams themselves seem mostly innocuous, live streaming poses real risks for kids in terms of privacy and safety, and it's also a way to connect with people whom some families might not want connecting with their kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about privacy and the risks of broadcasting yourself to the world. What's fun about streaming video and getting live comments? What are the drawbacks? What would draw you to watching someone else's stream?

  • Discuss what's appropriate to share and what isn't. Remind kids that "friends" and "followers" on social media are often still strangers. 

  • If you decide it's OK for your teen to broadcast, talk about what to do about inappropriate comments and mean behavior. Teens should know how to block others and report streams, though there's no guarantee that anything will happen as a result.

App details

For kids who love social-networking and teen apps

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