This new feature is currently being rolled out, as it becomes available our online safety experts will provide updates on the new function.  

What’s Happening?

Instagram is rolling out a new feature called ‘Live Rooms’, which will allow users to ‘go live’ and broadcast with up to 3 other people to their audienceThis new feature is currently being rolled out, so many users may not yet have access to it. 

 This move increases the number of users able to collaborate as they engage an audience. It has largely been fuelled by both the reliance on live-streaming to connect during the pandemic, and the platforms desire to facilitate more creative opportunities. 

Instagram remains popular in the UK and has over 30.36 million users, of which 7.1% are aged 13 – 17 (roughly 2.2 million young people).  

 In this short article, our online experts explore Live Rooms, highlight significant safeguarding risks and offer key advice to protect the children and young people in your care 

How does it work?

To start a Live Room, simply follow these instructions:  

  • Swipe left from your home screen and pick the ‘Live’ option at the bottom.

  • You can then add a Title by selecting the four lines on the left side of your screen.
  • By tapping the Room icon, you can add guests. This will show a list of people who have requested to go live with you.

Safety Features

Instagram offers users the following safety measures while using Live Rooms:  

  • If a user has been blocked by any of the Live Room participants, they will not be able to join the livestream.

  • Instagram will revoke access to Live Rooms if a user violates any of the companies Community Guidelines.

  • During livestreams, users can report and block comments and use comment filters to avoid any profanity. 

  • Instagram has said that they will introduce more moderator controls in the coming months.

What should you be aware of? 

As with all features of social media platforms, there can be significant risks for children and young people: 

  • Users can buy badges in Live Rooms to support their favourite creators (1 per person)Users who purchase a badge get an icon beside their name, which makes them more visible in the comments section of a Live Room and unlocks special features. Badges cost up to $4.99 (£3.58). Creators may encourage their followers into purchasing badges or contributing to fundraising activities 

  • Children and young people who are inspired to become social media influencers may feel pressured to do ‘whatever it takes’ to gain more followers, such as Live Streaming in less clothing or sharing personal information for ‘authentic’ interactions with strangers/fans 

  • Although Instagram has offered several safety and moderation mechanisms, online bullies may still target users on Live Roomsby screenshotting or writing abusive messages 

  • The risk of disclosing personal information is amplified when using any live features due to the online disinhibition effect and increased pressure from fans where users make ‘in the moment’ decisions 

  • Children may spend increased periods of time online using Live Rooms to potentially ‘go viral’ 

  • Live Rooms require people to be on-camerathis may pressurise or influence young people to conform to a particular look or to construct an environment aimed at pleasing and increasing their audience 

Top Tips

If children and young people in your care are going to use Live Rooms, you should note the following.

The terms and conditions of use set the age limit at 13. If you allow them to access it at a younger age, you need to ensure that you are satisfied that they can identify and manage risks.

In any case you should discuss the following advice with them:

  • Never share links to Live Rooms publicly.

  • Silence and/or avoid online bullies by turning off commenting on the livestream.

  • Make sure children and young people know how to block and report users on Instagram.

  • If children and/or young people wish to purchase badges and you are ok with this, we recommend deciding on a budget to avoid any surprise bills.

  • Have open conversations with the children and young people in your care about using live features, ensuring that they know where to get help if they need it.

  • Make sure children and young people do not accidently disclose personally identifiable information such as their school name via school uniform.

  • Get them to think about how the background in their room or location might give away personal information including exactly where they are.

  • Ensure a child or young person’s account is set to ‘Private’.

Further Support

Join our Safeguarding Hub Newsletter Network

Members of our network receive weekly updates on the trends, risks and threats to children and young people online.

Sign Up

What is Coronavirus? An explainer for Children

Our animated video has reached over 350,000 views on YouTube.

Watch Video on youtube

Constant Change is Here to Stay

The right information in your pocket, when you need it.

Read More

County Lines, Cuckooing
and Clean Skins

Read

Roundup of Recent Safeguarding Alerts

read

Activity Tracking Apps – Protect Your Privacy

read

Safeguarding ALERT – Dangerous Chat Rooms

read

Our most Popular
Posts

Read