By @TheMarkDalton

A few days ago when I was browsing my Facebook feed on my desktop I got a prompt to look at Facebook’s new live streaming map. Shown below, it is basically a map of every live stream going on around the world right now. My first impression was, “wow this is pretty neat, I like this!” but that soon changed somewhat. 

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I spent a good hour looking at the blue dots appear and disappear as people were going online to broadcast live. It is cool to have a visual live map of the current streams you can jump in and out of. I had a browse around some streams of people playing video games, people playing music and people just rambling some thoughts to the camera.

There was a mother singing to her child, a group of adults hanging out and chatting and thats all fine. However things started getting shady when children started popping up over the map. Streams from schools in between class, kids streaming other kids and a stream from America with a young man who appeared to be smoking cannabis.

You see, we have had live streaming capabilities through Periscope for the guts of a year now, but unless you went and downloaded the app and used it then you wouldn’t be as concerned about streaming. The difference with Facebook is that we all have an account by now.

That means that live streaming tools are being handed to everyone who has an account. We know that there are some very young kids who have their own Facebook accounts and now they are being presented with the capabilities to post live video. It could be a recipe for disaster if you are not careful and take appropriate action.

So what should you do?

Start by deciding if you are okay with your kids streaming their lives online. That’s the first step, read up a bit about live streaming – do a google search on the subject and start by educating yourself. Then it is time to sit down and revisit the social media and responsibility talk.

As well as that, go into your kids Facebook account privacy settings and make sure that everything there is set to “friends only.” After looking at the Facebook live map, my suspicions are that people don’t seem to realise or understand just how global a public live stream actually is at the moment.

Having a map for every user on Facebook means that it is even more global and easier to find a live stream than it ever was before for a typical Facebook post, make sure they understand this. At the very least, monitor your kids Facebook usage and make sure they are not streaming anything you wouldn’t want them to.

Some tech reports in the media claim that the map tries to keep streamer profiles vague. However this has not been the case for me, I have easily been able to click straight into user profiles for every live streamer I have come across so far.

Remember, once it is online it is hard to take back

Never forget, and make sure your child never forgets, that once you put something online it can be hard to take it away even if you hit the delete button.

Our reputations matter, taking a loss is real no matter what the age. Most of us will have heard the expression, “think before you post.” Well that is now “think before you stream.” It’s quite simple really, if you want to make sure that your online reputation does not suffer and affect things in your personal or professional life then just make sure you don’t stream dumb shit on Facebook!

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