Remember when the family would sit and watch a show together at the exact time it aired? Now, thanks to streaming video, kids have access to and are creating content that could be not only inappropriate, but also dangerous.
It’s not about the TV — kids don’t care if they have a TV in their bedroom or anywhere else, for that matter. They’re watching shows and live streaming on their phones everywhere they go.
Live streaming is riskiest
Using apps like Live.ly, Live.me, and Hype, kids can view and broadcast anything, including violence, sex acts, and even suicide. It’s literally talking to strangers and inviting them into your bedroom. Kids can be bullied by their peers or groomed and harassed by predators. It’s important for parents to look at these sites, understand them, and then have a conversation with their child. Kids tend to live stream in their bedroom and are more relaxed, leading them to be less on their guard about sharing information.
Talk about uncomfortable topics
There may be shows getting buzz that have content – whether sexual, violent, or illegal – that is uncomfortable. As a parent, you need to be able to talk to your teens about their feelings about these topics. Use these topics as ways to talk to your kids about behavior they see at school and how they handle it. Teach them how to react to these situations and what to do if they see it firsthand.
Monitor their devices
Many of the live streaming sites are just not appropriate for kids. Simply block the apps from their phone. For Netflix and YouTube, you can manually set the parental controls and safety mode on both the desktop and mobile versions.
Alison Jacobson, Blogger, The Safety Mom, [email protected]