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Awareness, Education & Training
on CyberBullying Prevention

YouNow App – creative, unbelievable and a little bit dangerous – Yep!

So this app has come to our attention and we have to say that it’s one that really strikes us (who are in the digital dinosaur bracket admittedly) as bonkers!! YouNow App is putting Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope firmly on the sidelines and is the teens video streaming app of choice right now. But once again this is not a new App but one doing it’s second round! It was originally launched in 2012 but failed to really get any traction. Then in 2014 things clicked and it went from 10 million to 100 million users in 4 months. Today, 2015, it’s going nuts. 35,000 hours of video is streamed daily!! And over 1 million dollars worth of tips flows through their platform monthly. WTF??

YouNow App

 

What’s perhaps most worrying is that when we logged in for the first time and, had gotten over being over whelmed with what was on our screen, we realised that this guy who was now talking to us and the other 350+ people on his stream had been doing so for the last 3 hours and 38 minutes. He was talking about music and was about 40 years old. 1 person, sat in front of his smartphone talking about his music preference. Can anyone say narcissism!!??

 

We moved on and landed on a stream with two, we are assuming, teenage girls, doing nothing but playing music and dancing along to it. The streams have live feeds of comments running below them and they were interacting by answering some of them and then basically singing along to rap songs – at one point one of the girls starts to show her tummy  – a bright red message appeared in the message feed from a moderator telling her to keep her top down and keep the stream appropriate. This was good to see, but what was perhaps more worrying, was the girls reaction, turning to her accomplice and asking ‘ Is someone moderating this?’  – the naivety of youth! And this is what is going to get some of them into trouble.

 

The platform encourages you to broadcast yourself, with the aim of garnering followers, not just for vanity’s sake, but because these followers can actually PAY YOU, yes PAY YOU real money for your broadcasts!! They pay you in the form of tips and you give tips by acquiring coins. You acquire coins by being active on the platform; broadcasting yourself, inviting others to join the platform and engaging with other broadcasters with comments, chats and just by watching them. It’s not all bad either. This platform does actually offer a pretty amazing opportunity. Read about Tayser Abuhamdeh who is earning more from his YouNow channel than his job as a cashier.

 

As always with many of the apps we review, there is the potential for using them for good but also for evil. We would highly recommend those with talents or a wanton lust to put their ideas and opinions out there for constructive criticism and conversation to get on there. Generate that positive content we reference a lot. Perhaps you could create your YouNow stream around your passion for criminal law and show a potential university or employer why you stand out from the rest. Use it to demonstrate your musical ability (we stopped on a guys stream, had been broadcasting for 2+ hours, singing and playing his guitar)

 

Unfortunately there are going to be those that use this for evil. There are broadcasters – using the hashtag #sleepingsquad, who set their phone up and it broadcasts them sleeping. Does anyone else find it strange that anyone would want to watch a 14 or 15 year old they don’t know sleeping? We do!! This is an app that Parents and Teachers need to know about and need to have an open conversation with their children if they happen to see the icon on their smart devices.

 

There is too much opportunity for grooming and for targeting of individuals who are in many cases broadcasting from their bedroom! Too many children are being watched and followed by adults and there have been cases reported already of children being encouraged to do explicit things by followers. Maize police in Kansas have already issued a warning about the YouNow app, voicing concerns around ‘children being viewed and followed by adults, which could make them targets for sexual predators’ Eye Witness News 12 reported.

 

We bang on about this all the time, because we know it’s so important. Your Online Reputation Matters and this App has the potential to damage that, by broadcasting one ill advised moment. Once it’s out there it’s out there. People could be recording your feed, or taking a snapshot with a 2nd device that you’ll never know about until, well, until it’s too late. Get on the app by all means, use it to get your positive content in front of as many people in as many countries as you can.

 

Always have at the back of your mind though – Take Time To Think – and in this case, Stop | Think | Broadcast.