Children are increasingly broadcasting themselves live over the internet

Vlogging

A study by TalkTalk's online safety partner Internet Matters​ has found large numbers of British kids are broadcasting themselves live over the internet. 30% of children aged between 11 and 13 are doing it, and more shockingly, 13% of children aged four to five are livestreaming their own content too.

As a result, parents are being given new advice on this growing trend. Not-for-profit organisation Internet Matters has launched the guide in the hope it will help parents understand the potential risks of their children posting live content on websites and apps amid fears it could leave them open to being targeted by strangers online.

Viewing habits

In the study, parents said that YouTube is the most popular platform for kids to broadcast content on, followed by Facebook Live and Instagram Live. Others include Musical.ly, Live.ly, Live.me, and Periscope.

The survey also found a fifth of kids between 4 and 16 are viewing livestreaming videos. Children aged 11 to 13 are the most likely (54%) age group to be watching broadcasts. 20% of four to five year olds are regularly watching content live.

Not just livestreams

The survey of 2,000 parents also looked at the extent children are making and viewing their own vlogs – which, in contrast to livestreams, are recorded and edited before being posted on social media platforms. It revealed:

- One in four kids create and post their own vlogs – including 27% of kids aged between six and 10 - although most child vloggers are aged 11 to 13.

- The average age for a child to start watching and creating their own vlogs is nine.

- The most popular subjects for vlogs are gaming, product unboxing and the lives of pro vloggers.

- Nearly eight out of 10 teenagers between 14 and 16 regularly watch videos by professional vloggers.

- The average child spends two hours a week watching vlogs – yet 7% of kids watch for seven hours or more.

- Seven out of 10 parents say it's difficult to know whether certain vlogs or vloggers are suitable for their kids.

- However, 44% of parents saying their children have learnt "good things" from vlogs.

Reaction

Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters​ said: "Live-streaming is the latest online trend capturing the imagination of children, yet due to the speed at which technology develops, it remains unfamiliar territory for many parents.

"The internet provides children with fantastic opportunities to learn, explore and create however posting the wrong thing could pose potential dangers.

Psychologist and Internet Matters​ Ambassador Dr Linda Papadopoulos said​: "Parents need to understand what makes their child tick online and familiarise themselves with any app their child is using that may have broadcasting capabilities.

"But crucially they need to get behind the reasons they want to post content online - is it simply to explore a hobby or is it to gain attention or bow to peer pressure? If this is the case, they need to help and encourage them to navigate their digital world safely and responsibly."

For more information on how to keep your children safe while livestreaming and vlogging click here

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