Modern technology has become a double-edged sword for a lot of parents. On one hand, smartphones and apps are becoming almost a necessity for most of us. On the other hand, though, it’s natural and important for parents to want to know what’s happening with their children, and to have some say in the decisions they’re making. That’s why it’s necessary for today’s parents to stay up on the latest tech trends, so they can have real, meaningful discussions with their kids and their teenagers about the decisions they make online.
And the latest in a long string of conversations parents are having is regarding live-streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat.
Live-streaming at once seems like something that is really simple, but at the same time too advanced for us to carry around in our back pockets. The way these apps work is pretty simple. You download the app to your phone, and then set it up so that it’s connected to your social media (Periscope and Meerkat both use your Twitter handle, according to Cool Mom Tech). Once all of the creation details are filled out, the program is given access to your smartphone’s built-in camera. After a few minutes of installation, you’re ready to click the button, and broadcast yourself and whatever you happen to be doing live on the Internet!
There are plenty of ways these programs can be used legitimately, and for the general betterment of everyone. These apps allow journalists to reach their audience live whenever they need to, and it puts needed tools in the hands of start-up entertainers who are attempting to find an audience to get their careers off the ground. However, the question as to whether or not your children should install and use a live-streaming app is a conversation you need to have with them.
Why Would Your Kids Need To Stream?
“If they don’t need it, they shouldn’t have it”, is rarely a bad policy concerning apps when it comes to your kids. If there is no practical reason to install a program (Facebook allows for socialization and information sharing, Candy Crush keeps them entertained on long car trips, etc.), then chances are good it’s something you can both agree that your kids don’t need to have set up.
On the other hand, there may very well be a practical reason for your teenager to install and use a streaming program. Maybe there’s a group project being done, and live streaming is how the group plans to have meetings (which is what a lot of adults use it for).
Perhaps your teen wants to try his or her hand at becoming an Internet sensation, and is using live-streaming to try to reach as many fans as possible. There are reasons that live-streaming apps could be useful to your children. However, you still need to sit down and talk about the inherent dangers of streaming before trusting that they know what they’re doing. Especially considering that they’re putting themselves out there to a world full of strangers, and many times there are additional, legal complications when it comes to minors and video.
Even if you trust your children to be technologically responsible, it is always a must to stay involved. The easiest way to do that is, if they’re going to live-stream to an audience, to tune in. If they’re live-streaming in a more private setting, such as between friends, ask them to possibly live stream in another area of the house like the family room. By keeping communication lines open you’ll show them that you trust your kids to make good decisions, but that at the same time you are there to help them if they need it.
Setting boundaries with the types of apps that your children and teens are exposed to is easier when you use a trustworthy parental control software. Netsanity offers a suite of services their appblocker feature is a “must have” if your children or teens have mobile devices. With one-click you can block any internet-based app that you find dangerous or inappropriate. They have a 14-day free trial, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Again, honest ongoing conversations about staying safe will do more to keep your tweens and teen safe and drama free more than any other action that you can take!