Video chat, sharing and streaming apps

Learn more about video apps, the risks children face when using them and what you can do to help keep children safe.

Video is one of the most popular methods of communicaton for young people. You may find it helps your child to stay in contact with family members, talk with multiple friends at any one time, or just get creative. 

But there can also be risks. It's important that both adults and children understand the dangers involved in using video apps and broadcasting live content - and what to do to keep children and young people safe.  

Dont worry though. We've got all the information you need about the latest apps, what the risks are and what you can do to keep your child safe online.

Popular video apps and sites

You can create 15 second videos miming along to songs, performing comedy, dance or creating music videos. lets you share videos with friends or anyone online. All accounts are public and anyone can follow you.


Snapchat lets you send a photo, video or message to friends. When opened, this 'snap' displays for up to 10 seconds before it disappears. But it can be screenshotted.

You can also share multiple snaps as a story and use a map to share your location with your contacts.


Periscope is an app that lets you broadcast and watch live videos. You can choose to share with just your friends or with people from around the world.

Users can interact with videos through comments and show they like what they're seeing by using hearts.

What are the risks?

Video chat

Many young people use video chat to keep in touch with friends and family.

Sites and apps such as Skype, ooVoo or Omegle let the user have live face-to-face conversations through a webcam, either with one person or a group of people. 

What are the risks for your child?

    • some sites, such as Omegle, encourage users to talk to strangers
    • video conversations can be recorded and shared without their knowledge - causing distress or embarrassment.
    • as conversations are live they can’t control what the other person says or does. This may lead to your child seeing or hearing something that they find upsetting.

Video sharing

Apps such as and YouTube let you create and upload short videos.

You can choose to lip-sync, perform dance routines, sing, or show off other talents. People who see your videos can also like, comment on, or share them.

What are the risks for your child?

    • they could receive nasty or negative comments from other users 
    • they won't have control over who see's it. It could end up being shared via other social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp
    • they may hear explicit language or see adult content from videos other people have shared.

Video streaming

Live-streaming apps and sites let you film and broadcast videos in real time.

People viewing the video can usually post comments or questions. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube all let users live-stream.

What are the risks for your child?

  • videos are live so you don't know what you're going to see - it could be inappropriate, sexual or violent content
  • other users may post nasty comments or inappropriate questions. If your settings aren't private, strangers can watch or talk to you
  • videos often disappear after filming but some sites keep them for longer. If it's shared, your child may lose control of their video.

4 top tips for using video chat and video sharing

1. Check the settings

Top tips star illustration

On some sites and apps you're able to change the settings so that:

    • only your friends can see your posts
    • you can talk only with your friends rather than strangers. 

It can also be a good idea to change the geo-location settings so that people cannot identify where they are.


2. Explain the dangers

The way to find people to talk to on chat sites varies. On sites like Skype you have to approve requests, whilst other sites like Omegle pair you randomly with a stranger. 

Talk to your child about the dangers of speaking to strangers online. And let them know what they can do to protect themselves online.


3. Be Share Aware

Talk to your child about being share aware and why they shouldn't give out any personal information. It's also important to talk to them about not sharing videos that they can be identified by - such as them wearing school uniforms or by road names for example. 

Remind them that anything they do on video chats can be recorded. They shouldn't feel pressured into doing anything that they feel uncomfortable about.


4. Support your child

Help your child to understand what behaviour is and isn't acceptable online. Talk to your child and let them know that if anything upsets them or makes them feel uncomfortable they can come and speak to you.

It can also be helpful to make sure that they know how to report people's behaviour or any harmful content that they see online and how to block people.