Livestreaming and video-chat risks highlighted in latest survey

Our Wild West Web campaign calls on the government to regulate social networks and make the internet safer for children

Young boy using a tabletIn a survey of nearly 40,000 children and young people aged 7 to 16, we asked about the risks they face when using the internet1. A snapshot of the survey findings on livestreaming and video-chatting (PDF) highlights the dangers children are exposed to.

Findings show that almost a quarter have livestreamed and almost 1 in 8 have video-chatted with someone they've never met in person.

Over 1 in 10 children who had video-chatted have been asked to get undressed. Of those who had livestreamed, over 1 in 20 were asked to remove clothes.

Ben's story

Carl*, a father from Yorkshire, is urging government to take action after abusers used the video-chatting app Skype to target his son Ben*.

When Ben was 14, a man in his twenties pretended to be a teenage girl and groomed him on Facebook. Over 2 years Ben was exploited by 6 abusers using blackmail and threats to coerce him into sending explicit pictures and performing sex acts on Skype. Carl said:

"Ben tried to get out of the situation so many times but he couldn’t. He was trapped and was too frightened to tell anyone. Government must do whatever it can to protect children from being targeted by abusers online. I don’t want any other families to have to go through what we’ve gone through."

Wild West Web: our campaign

We're calling on Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright to stand up for children and introduce tough regulation for social networks. We want:

  • an independent regulator who can put in place mandatory child safety rules for social networks
  • safe accounts for children
  • detailed reporting on how social networks are keeping children safe.

We need your help to ensure children are safe online. Sign our petition and help end the #WildWestWeb.

Sign the petition

Peter WanlessPeter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive said:

"The popularity of livestreaming has led to a dangerous cocktail of risks for children. Its immediacy means children are being pressured into going along with situations that make them feel uncomfortable.

"The lure of a big audience, or thinking that they are chatting to someone they can trust, piles on that pressure. What's really disturbing is that groomers can then screenshot or record livestreamed abuse, and use it to blackmail the child or share it with others.

"We urge the public to sign our petition calling on Government to introduce tough regulation of social networks to make sure measures are in place to protect children from abuse over livestreaming and video chat."

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Names and identifying features have been changed to protect identity. Photographs have been posed by models.


  1. A total of 21,648 primary school children and 18,186 secondary school children were asked:

    - Have you ever live-streamed or video-chatted with someone you have not met face-to-face?
    - When live-streaming or when video chatting with someone you have not met face to face have any of these things happened?:
    * Someone wasn’t wearing all their clothes
    * Someone asked you to change or take your clothes off
    * Something else happened that made you feel uncomfortable

    24% of children have livestreamed. Of those children who had livestreamed, 6% were asked to remove their clothes.

    12% of children have video-chatted with someone they have not met face-to-face. Of those children who had video-chatted, 11% were asked to remove their clothes.