Live streaming

Live in 3…2…1

Live streaming, sometimes known as “going live”, is the broadcasting of live videos over the internet. Live streaming is popular for many reasons. Many people use it to: 

  • showcase their talents; 
  • advertise and sell products; 
  • campaign about an issue; or 
  • spontaneously share their thoughts with an audience. 

There are plenty of apps built specifically for live streaming. But most social media networks, like Facebook and Instagram, have now developed live streaming functions too.

Watching live videos?

The clue is in the name – live streaming is live, which means there is no opportunity to edit or think critically about the content before it’s posted online. Anyone with a camera and access to the internet can create and share a live video. This means that it's possible to see things that could shock or upset you - even if you didn't intially set out to watch that type of video. 

Remember, it’s easy for people to fake it on live streams. Don’t assume that video content is genuine just because it’s on a live stream. 

Thinking about live streaming?

Whilst live streaming can be fun, it’s important to remember that live videos can be recorded and shared without your permission. When something is live, sometimes people can be more susceptible to acting on impulse - doing something ‘in the moment’. Some apps allow viewers to comment on a live video as it is broadcast. Often, the person in the video can read the comments as they are live streaming  and can feel a pressure to respond to comments. This can increase the pressure as they know the person is watching them.

A tactic we see used in live streaming  is encouraging young people to take part in dares, or offering them online gifts or ‘game points’ in exchange for doing something on camera.  It can be difficult to spot manipulative behaviour in others and stand up to pressure, however if you’re online and someone asks you to remove clothing or do anything sexual, stop and tell someone. No matter who instigated the conversation or what’s been said, it is never the young person’s fault. Tell and adult and report to CEOP.

Read on to find tips on how to live stream safely. 

Things to think about:

  • Lights, camera, action?

    Want to share videos in real-time?  Consider what you would feel comfortable with people seeing. 

  • Who’s watching?

    If you choose to live stream, think about who will be watching your videos. Check your privacy settings, make sure that only your real friends can watch your videos. Think about turning off your location settings so people you don’t know can’t track where you are. Sometimes when we don’t have the opportunity to edit and tweak, or start over again, we can unintentionally give too much information away, and this can include information about our location. 

  • Have I got permission?

    It can be tempting to live stream events you see when out and about. This can include other people. Think about if you were them. Would you like to be recorded without your knowledge? Could  the video embarrass or upset those within it? Creating or sharing a video to intentionally embarrass or hurt someone is cyberbullying.

  • Seen something that’s upset you?

    Some people use live streaming to record crimes and behaviour that could be harmful to another person. If you see a live video that upsets you or makes you feel uncomfortable, take steps to look after yourself and others. Stop watching and tell an adult you trust who can support you to report the video. 

  • Feeling pressured to do things you don’t want to do?

    Some people online use live streaming to encourage young people to act sexy, film something in the nude and generally do things that they don’t want to do. They may pretent to be someone they're not (even on a live stream) and try to blackmail young people to prevent them from telling anyone or getting help. This is illegal and is never your fault. If someone pressures you online, stop all communication with them and tell someone you trust, or report it to CEOP.

Are you worried about something that’s happened whilst live streaming?

  • Report it.

    Unfortunately it is not uncommon for young people to be tricked or pressured into doing something whilst live streaming. No matter what you might have shared online, you are not to blame. Tell an adult you trust or contact us at CEOP to support you to make it stop.

  • Want to talk to someone privately?

    Childline is a free helpline for children and young people. You can contact Childline about anything. No problem is too big or too small. Whatever your worry, it's better out than in.

    Childline is a private and confidential service. Confidential means not telling anyone else what you’ve said. This means that whatever you say stays between you and Childline.


    They would only need to tell someone else if:

    - You ask them to

    - They believe your life or someone else’s life is in immediate danger

    - You are being hurt by someone in a position of trust who has access to other children like a teacher or police office

    - You tell us that you are seriously harming another young person

    Call them on 0800 1111. The number won’t appear on your phone bill.

    You can also visit to speak to a counsellor online.