LiveMe: Live Streaming App or Pedophile’s Online Paradise?

Live streaming– Teens and adults are using it more and more to broadcast, chat, share and follow one another. But let’s take a look at the popular live streaming LiveMe app and explore who uses it, who benefits from it, what are the safeguards and is it appropriate for 13+ as suggested.

LiveMe first advertised itself as the number 1 way to watch live streaming videos with video chat.  Over time, there has been an attempt by the advertisers to market to younger adults and now, children age 13+.  All types of enticements are built into this app to get streamers of the viewer’s attention.  So, what’s the downside of LiveMe and why are parents and child psychologists concerned about LiveMe?

Kids love LiveMe because it gives them confidence.  What kids don’t understand is that they have no way to know or control who is viewing them or what the person viewing is doing with the live streaming videos. There appears to be no administrative vigilance of actual age of user, sexual, or harassment commentary.

A Fox news investigation recently found LiveMe has been downloaded 96 million times, shares the users locations and allows the user to search for who is streaming near them. The investigation also found that pedophiles are using the popular live streaming app LiveMe to manipulate underage girls as young as eight years old to do sexual things on camera in return for virtual currency.  In addition, some of these same pedophiles are recording and posting these livestreams online as child porn. In reality, as stated by an expert in the investigation, LiveMe is a platform for child pornography.

LiveMe is currently being investigated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Cyber Crime Response Agency – all with good reason.  As witnessed numerous videos of young females of questionable age, young girls are being asked, by adult males, to lift their shirts, take off their panties and/or strip, send nudes and chat dirty, all for coins and emojis.

Parents and other child advocates are speaking up about LiveMe.  Some sickened by LiveMe, are demanding it be better regulated and that the youngest user be age 18+.  Some want it taken down altogether.  Others say it’s another gateway for pedophiles and children desperately seeking attention and fame. Safeguards against exploitation and manipulation of children need to be in place and enforced.

Social Media Trolls ~ Purpose and Prevention

According to the report, “What is behind the spike in Russian social media activity?” shown in a news clip Monday, April 17, 2018, the Pentagon reported there has been a 2000% increase in Russian social media trolling since the US strike on Syria on Friday.

What does this mean and should the US and other countries be worried? In the interview, Morgan Wright, Sr Fellow for the Center of Digital Government stated that the UK, indeed, is on alert for another cyber attack, following closely on the heels of the malicious ransomware attack on their healthcare system.

Information warfare, as referenced in the discussion to the 2016 election, is not new nor is it without serious consequences.  Social media trolls are intent on creating doubt, deceit, manipulation and confusion.  These trolls rely on disinformation to start quarrels and upset people. They basically want to provoke readers into an emotionally charged, negative response.

The English noun, “troll” dates back to 1610 and comes from the Old Norse word meaning ugly giant or demon.  Equating ugly giants or demons to social media trolls, makes it easy to conjure up an image of a creature that inflames and wreaks havoc among normal, well meaning individuals.

There’s no escaping the internet trolls in a connected world however, protecting privacy online by understanding and utilizing privacy settings on personal social media accounts will go a long way toward warding off trolls.

Cyberbullying, often a result of disinformation, is an issue young teens face that can be countered with the cultivation of empathy.  Reconsidering messages before they are sent, rethinking aggressive behavior and encouraging bystanders to report abuse they witness, are just a few of the ways to cultivate a culture of empathy and decrease the number of social media trolls.