Video chat and video sharing 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 that 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 what to do to keep children and young people safe. 

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

Popular video apps and sites

Musical.ly

You can create 15 second videos miming along to songs, performing comedy, dance or creating music videos.

You can share videos with friends or anyone online. All accounts are public and anyone can follow you.

Omegle: Talk to Strangers

Picks a stranger at random for you to talk to. This could be an adult or another young person. You can talk to them in a one-to-one text or video conversation.

Chats are anonymous unless you tell someone who you are. But you can stop a chat at any time.

Skype

Is a computer programme and app, which lets you make audio and video calls to other users around the world.

You can speak to one person or in a group with up to 25 people. You can also send instant messages or video messages to friends, even if they're offline. 

Stay up to date with the latest video apps

Net Aware has all the information and advice you need to keep you up-to-date with the latest video apps and social networking sites. 

Visit Net Aware

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 Musical.ly 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.

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 images 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. 

More information

Speak to an expert in-store

Anyone can get free online safety advice from O2’s friendly experts in-person at an O2 store. They can help you with the settings on the apps, such as turning on privacy settings and turning off GPS.

Book a free appointment now

Get your question answered

If you want specific advice on video chat and video sharing or you just want some friendly advice - you can speak to one of our experts from the O2 & NSPCC helpline.

0808 800 5002

Online safety

We’ve teamed up with O2 to help you keep children safe when they're using the internet, social networks, apps, games and more.
Online safety advice

How safe are the sites, apps and games your child uses?

Run in partnership with O2, Net Aware offers parents useful information about each social network, including the age guidance for users. 

Visit Net Aware