The Periscope App Perils – The Newest Social Media Platform that Every Parent Should Know About (and a live demo)

periscope and parents

Have you heard of the Periscope App? What is Periscope?

  • The Periscope app is the newest and hottest social media platform which has been recently bought by Twitter for 100 million dollars!
  • Periscope app is free and available on iOS and Android which allows one to live stream video to people all over the world!
  • Periscope is automatically live streamed and recorded for 24 hours
  • Periscope allows viewers to type messages or questions to the person periscoping (this text shows up on the periscoper’s screen)
  • Periscope allows viewers to show appreciation for the person/content by double tapping on their screen, which then gives hearts to the person periscoping (the more hearts a person gets, the more chance to show up in the “Most Loved” people list of Periscope!)

Why should I, as a parent, be concerned about Periscope?

Imagine being a teenager…

Your prefrontal cortex (the wise leader, higher level, rational thinking part of your brain) is currently undergoing reconstruction (yes, this is truly what happens in the development of the adolescent brain). Therefore, you tend to act more on impulse. You also love the feeling of Dopamine (the reward chemical in the brain). You may also be experimenting with alcohol and other substances…

And along comes Periscope…

Suddenly, your live streaming on Periscope and someone asks you to show off your chest, and tells you they’ll give you lots of hearts for doing this…

Then they give you lots of positive reinforcement with hearts and praise via comments that all show up on your screen. Then they ask you to show another part of another body, and again they give you lots of hearts and praise and tell you that you’re going to be #1 in the “Most Loved” people list of Periscope. This all seems really fun at the time, but in the morning you wake up and remember what you did the night before and now you can’t take it back. It was live and it’s still available for all the world to see for 24 hours – you’ve just created a new digital footprint for yourself.

Live streaming video via one’s phone could also cause huge problems and distress if someone decides to film others at a party, who aren’t even aware that they’ve being filmed live for all the world to see.

It’s true that Periscope has terms and conditions for their users, but when it’s all happening live, it’s impossible for  them to shut down all the filming that is breaching their policies.  They may eventually block one’s account but it’s very easy to create a new account with a new Twitter handle (name)…

How is this different from Snapchat or Youtube?

With other video-based platforms, there’s time to pause and think…   With these other video social media platforms, you have to post the video – it is not live!  These other social media platforms are not so interactive.  Complete strangers can’t ask you questions, ask you to perform certain acts or sexually harass you live, with these other platforms.

My first Periscope otherwise known as “Scope”

I’m not used to filming myself so it did feel a little strange, but the only way to get better is by practicing, so here it is, my first periscope, now uploaded on Youtube: What Parents Must Know About Periscope

  (6 mins.)

There’s also many positives with Periscope, such as being able to choose to only live stream to your friends and family. (This could be a fun way to create a travel vlog (video blog).   You can also block viewers who are trolls, predators etc. but their initial comments may already have been emotionally damaging.

What Can Parents Do?

I encourage you to talk to your child and let them know that you know about this new social media platform.  Go over the risks that come with it and the importance of being aware of what kind of digital footprint one is creating (as mentioned in my previous article: Our Tween’s Digital Footprint Teachable Moment).  Discuss the risks versus the rewards.

Talk about the definition of a periscope (“an apparatus consisting of a tube attached to a set of mirrors, by which an observer, typically in a submerged submarine, can see things that are otherwise out of sight”) and how this fits with the function of this new social media platform.

As with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Periscope requires all users to be at least 13 years of age.  Although, I personally think this is still a very young age to be live streaming with strangers from around the world.

When Periscope is used responsibly, I think it has a lot of potential.  For those of you who have not met me personally, this is a great way to get to know me in a more personal, yet informal way, where you can see my face and hear my voice.  It will also give us the chance to interact live.  If you’d like to follow me on Twitter and Periscope, you can find me at Sharon Selby @child_family

I’d love to hear your thoughts about Periscope.  Please leave your comments on my Facebook page at: Sharon Selby Child and Family Counselling

I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer,



PS. Are you curious about Why Children Lie & What To Do About It? Click here to find my Free Report that reveals the answers.


Want to Connect?

Subscribe now to receive free weekly parenting tips and inspiration.

Powered by ConvertKit