I recently received a tip about a livestreaming app for mobile devices called Live.Me. With the app, anyone can livestream video from wherever they are and viewers, or followers, are able to leave comments. The internet, being what it is, has caused problems for some users of the app.
While I was unable to find any arrests related to Live.Me there have been two separate sets of parents who have complained about the app to their local news channels. In one instance, a 9-year-old girl from Colorado was allegedly threatened and coerced into taking her clothes off on camera. In another instance, a 12-year-old Florida girl was reportedly approached on the app for explicit pictures.
At this point I decided to download the app for myself to see what it’s all about. On the surface it reminds me of Stickam, the now defunct web cam site. A good number of the streamers on Live.Me were scantily clad females. The age of the streamers isn’t always displayed and the app doesn’t really require any age check for it to be used. According to their terms of service, a user has to be at least 13 to use the app, but you have to be at least 18 to download it. I have no idea on how they can actually enforce any of that, which leads me to believe they probably aren’t. Live.Me also says they don’t allow nudity or explicit sexual contact of any kind, but again it’s unknown how they’re monitoring for such content, if they’re monitoring for it at all.
One thing that particularly bothered me about the app was the ‘Nearby’ feature. As far as I can tell, even if you disable your location, it still shows you people near you who are broadcasting live on the app. Location is disabled by default but that doesn’t appear to affect the Nearby feature. Even the amount of miles between you and someone watching your stream is too revealing for me. That’s all some predators need to begin gathering information on a victim.
So in conclusion, as with most apps, it’s the parent who has to be the ultimate guardian. Check your children’s phones and tablets regularly for apps like this and then proceed responsibly.
Thanks to Cynthia for the tip.