What parents need to know about live-streaming app Periscope

Posted May 17

Twitter is dealing with legal and public concerns over its live-streaming app Periscope this week after a teenager streamed her own suicide in front of more than 1,000 viewers this week.

The woman, who was 19 and lived near Paris, France, threw herself in front of a train.

"Those watching the scene unfold showered the Periscope feed with 'likes' and comments, most of which seemed to be lighthearted in nature, and did not take the woman's threats of self-harm seriously," The Washington Post reported.

Now, the authorities are taking Periscope very seriously, given its growing track record of legal troubles. Periscope has run into other problems in the past two years, running the gamut of copyright infringement and takedown notices from Showtime and HBO after users live-stream pay-per-view boxing matches and subscription-only TV shows like "Game of Thrones."

More disturbing, Periscope was used to live-stream the rape of a 17-year-old in Ohio in February and a street attack on a drunk French man in April.

From a lack of privacy to the possibility of more dangerous consequences, here's what parents need to know about Periscope:

What it is: An app that enables the user to shoot and share live video using their phones.

How it works: Sort of like a marriage of Twitter and Snapchat. Periscope is much faster than YouTube or uploading a video to Facebook. Users shoot video and share streams within the app, where people can 'like' and respond to videos in short, tweet-like snippets.

Privacy: Since it's meant to capture events as they happen, Periscope used to automatically note a user's location on an in-app map. FastCompany reported that Periscope's first update disabled the ability for users' exact locations to be pinpointed by zooming in on the map, so now only the user's city is displayed. But if parents prefer their kids' location to be kept secret, they need to be sure to disable Periscope's location services in the phone's settings.

Filters: There aren't any filters yet to flag offensive, inappropriate or violent content, though the UK Daily Mail reported that such filters are in the works. Sadly, as Cosmopolitan reported, that means that anonymous sexual harassment is rampant on the app.


Twitter: ChandraMJohnson


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