A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
After logging in through Facebook, Instagram, or a phone number, users view live broadcasts or stream their own live video. The terms of service state that the app is meant for users 18 and older, though much younger teens are frequently broadcasting. Viewers comment and send gifts to broadcasters, while broadcasters respond to comments and interact with viewers. Immediately upon logging in to a broadcast, viewers see a reminder that violent or sexual content is prohibited, along with an email address to report issues. Viewers can subscribe to broadcasters or report them through their profiles, and broadcasters can block other users' comments. Broadcasters can share through myriad social media that they are live streaming, and users can purchase coins to give as gifts. The app also hosts an original broadcast called Spotlight Live! which is a live variety show.
Is it any good?
The appeal of live video streaming is clear -- some people get famous, and others thrive on the immediate connection and feedback, however shallow -- but is it appropriate for tweens and teens? Parents will want to arm kids with solid digital literacy before letting them broadcast or view (if they allow it at all). It's worth noting that most broadcasts are completely uneventful: One user had music playing while showing his ceiling, and many others showed bored-looking teens staring at their screens, saying "Hi, spam my Instagram" and asking for likes and follows. No one was showcasing talent or meaningful content. However, another featured the broadcaster and commenters trading racial slurs and profanity, and another showed 10-year-olds and a 13-year-old being asked to dance provocatively and show body parts. In all cases, the broadcasters called out their inappropriate commenters and/or blocked them. But would most kids respond in the same way? If tweens and teens want to use it, parents may want to set clear boundaries on where it can be used (is behind closed bedroom doors OK?) and equip them with how to handle rude, obnoxious, or inappropriate commenters. Teens also freely shared their other social media handles with strangers, so knowing how to stay safe and maintain privacy is another critical element.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about general privacy and safety online, and check in with your kid about new content posted and viewed. What information isn't safe to share with strangers? If your family decides live streaming is OK, what are the rules around it?
Make sure kids understand that adults and teens both may be using the app and that it's up to them to protect their privacy. What's your kid's username? Where will he or she create posts? What kinds of comments warrant reporting?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (with optional in-app purchases)
- Release date: May 27, 2016
- Category: Social Networking
- Topics: High School
- Size: 34.10 MB
- Publisher: Hong Li
- Version: 1.4.2
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android 4.3 and up
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