A Stranger Is Watching Your Daughter

Just typing the title to this blog post made me cringe.

I have a daughter. She’s my everything. My firstborn. I guard her ferociously.

But, technology has opened up new access points to our families. Windows and doorways that are difficult to guard and control because the Internet is knocking 24/7. It does not rest, and it continues to present more invasive opportunities for the outside world to enter our lives.

stranger watching daughter

Consider a recent trend in apps that parents should be aware of–live streaming.

It started with Meerkat (now obsolete) and Periscope (owned by Twitter). This quickly led to YouNow (the first app to enter the teen live streaming scene in 2015) and most recently, Live.ly (aimed at tweens and teens, mostly girls) and Live.me (aimed at young adults).

Here’s an excerpt from a blog post with a similar title I wrote last July about live streaming:

“The Truman Show was a fascinating movie. The concept was so interesting. Over 5,000 live cameras catching every moment of Truman’s life, while he’s clueless to the entire charade. That was 1998. Fast forward to 2015. Enter YouNow and Periscope. Now, broadcast television is available to everyone, anytime. Fire up the iPhone, click an app, and in seconds, you can live stream your life to whoever might be watching. It’s the Truman Show in reverse because you’re in control.

This is our current reality. Survivor has never been this raw. It is on prime time and edited for television. Big Brother took a daring step in allowing America to watch live footage from the Big Brother House, even streaming online at night. But, those are adults. And, CBS is still in charge, making sure nothing too racy gets through. Technology that used to be reserved for network TV is now available to anyone with a smart device…

Imagine it’s midnight, and a pair of tween girls using horrible language and wearing skimpy pajamas is having a live conversation being viewed by hundreds of random people who are daring them to do or say certain things. What could possibly go wrong?

This is the reality of live, streaming video. It’s life on full display. It’s complete ignorance to privacy risk as teens display the inside of their rooms and homes to complete strangers. It’s young, impulsive, adolescent humans hungry for attention and maximum shock. It’s reputations on the line and the absence of rewind, redo or parental control.”

Friends, we must be aware of these apps and the risks they present. Live.ly is soaring in popularity, largely because of its connection to musical.ly because they are from the same company. I’ve downloaded and used both of them to understand how they are being used. I discovered a blend of brilliant creativity and terrifying transparency.

Teens know the concept of “click bait,” and so in an effort to get more viewers to their live stream on live.ly, they lure viewers with titles like, “girls twerking,” or “2 hot 16-year-olds.”

Anyone with the app can watch any live stream they want. They only need an account with musical.ly (which is easy) and they automatically can log in to live.ly.

Parents, none of this should surprise you. We live in a world where porn is the norm. Kids figure out early that sex gets noticed. And, if mom and dad don’t talk often and openly about awkward, tough topics, then they receive their sex education from the only place they go for information–the Internet.

So, what’s the solution?

Friends, I started out by saying that the Internet never rests. And, as a result, neither can we. In the digital age, passive parenting is not an option. Parents who are observant, engaged and informed often have kids who learn to use technology well.

Will you be one of those parents? We want to help.