What Every Parent Needs To Know About Livestreaming

Video clips? That’s old school

Teens and livestreaming HipLatina

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MerrellTwins. Identical twins Veronica and Vanessa Merrell are Renaissance women of digital media—they’re singers, songwriters, actors (you may have seen them on the hit CW show Jane the Virgin), designers of their own fashion label, and producers of some of the savviest live content out there. Despite their 1.4 million followers on YouNow, the duo mainly stream on a YouTube channel completely dedicated to live broadcasting, where they run new, hour-long segments every Thursday. These streams have a higher production value and offer more variety than the average YouNow broadcast, and they showcase the sisters’ many talents and quirks.

Ninja. With hundreds of millions of channel views, Ninja—the screen name of 27-year-old gamer Tyler Blevins— is the most popular user on Twitch, where he is known for streaming himself playing Fortnite and Halo. Ninja’s gaming empire has expanded to YouTube and Twitter in particular, where he posts clips of his gameplay and collaborations with other streamers. If you’re looking to steer your young gamer toward a more appropriate and less obnoxious alternative to the likes of PewDiePie, Ninja is your best bet.

Honorable mention

How does livestreaming work?

  • Draw boundaries around where and when it’s appropriate to livestream. Some kids broadcast from their bedrooms because that’s where they can get some privacy. But it’s risky because bedrooms are also very intimate and personal—and not everyone who views your livestream is a friend. (There are adults livestreams geared for sexual transactions, and you want your kid to avoid any location that may give the audience the wrong idea.) A few places to consider making off-limits: their bedroom; your bedroom; other kid’s houses; and any location that reveals personally identifiable information such as their school name, your home address, or your street sign. Certain times, such as during the school day, are definitely not OK. (Check out these tips for kids who want to start their own YouTube channel.)
  • Get permission from people you want to include in your livestream. Livestreaming is so common, plenty of kids expect to do it at parties, concerts, and other gatherings. But everyone is entitled to their privacy, and it’s respectful to ask other kids if they’re OK with being in a livestream. If the livestream is going up on any social media, it’ll cause fewer problems later if everyone in the video has given consent.
  • Use good judgment. Discuss specific scenarios where kids should put away their phones, such as: when people are in need of help, and potentially illegal or super-inappropriate situations (for example, anything involving a dead body). Also, people tend to swear a lot on livestreams; try to encourage your kid to keep language fairly clean, especially for anything publicly available. Teachers, potential employers, college admissions counselors, and others folks your kid may want to impress someday look at social media for incriminating posts.
  • Dress appropriately. Some kids are so intent on livestreaming—or are so accustomed to it—they forget to wear proper clothing. Bare feet are OK, but they should avoid anything revealing, personally identifiable, or crude (again: Think future employers).
  • Pursue your passion. It might be a little difficult to relate if your kid is super into livestreaming. But if you sense that livestreaming is a positive outlet for them—for example, if it connects them with people who share their interests, or if they use it for self-expression, or if they simply love recording, editing, and marketing their videos—be supportive. The most important thing is to encourage them to do it for the “right” reasons. Make sure it’s something they love and that they’re not doing it for other people. Their chances of livestreaming safely and responsibly goes up a lot with you in the picture.

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