We usually refrain from drawing attention to risky behaviour on apps. However it has come to our attention that use of Bigo Live deserves to be highlighted for parents' and educators' awareness, so that we can take preventive or remedial actions to limit the spread of compromising content.
Bigo Live is a video streaming app that allows one to broadcast themselves via live video feed to other app users, for the purpose of earning attention & "beans" - which can be exchange for real currency. Viewers purchase "beans" with real currency to reward "broadcasters". The app applies powerful gamification techniques to attract both broadcasters and viewers.
For a detailed analyses of the app, please read this excellent definitive article from TECHINASIA.
A check on the Bigo Live Facebook page shows 1.33M likes. Based on anecdotal accounts, this app is already the rage among teenagers and even young social media influencers (e.g. Naomi Neo) have taken to this platform.
Potential Pitfalls & Cyber Wellness Advisory
An obvious negative outcome is that users may be drawn to stream compromising videos in an effort to draw attention and earn money. A quick scan on YouTube already shows compilations of provocative videos spreading virally.
Although the feeds on the Singapore channel seems milder, there is considerable risque content on many other countries' channels.
(1) Be careful about what you stream - Compromising content sometimes spread virally. Such content are easily recorded, archived and impossible to remove bringing undesirable effects long into the future.
(2) Be savvy about unworthy attention - Affirmations and endorsements are truly valuable if they come from genuine and respected people. Open platforms such as Bigo Live draw a wide range of people and are usually not a good group to try to endear yourself too.
(3) Be smart to evaluate returns - The earnings from such exposure come at a high risk (& cost) of infamy. The opportunity cost incurred for displacing other meaningful personal development also adds up.
Trends can sometimes sweep youths into unwise decisions so this is a good teachable moment to speak to your child about the long-lasting effects of compromising content on the Internet.
(1) Do not overreact if your children use it - Youths are unlikely to overstep boundaries merely because of the app (there are usually other risk factors present if they do). Stay calm and do some fact-finding & evaluation.
(2) Familiarise yourself with the excellent article from TECHINASIA - Review the above points for youths and find a teachable moment to speak to them.
While apps cannot be expected to be the only moderators of user-generated content, the features that may promote risky content should be highlighted for media literacy. Young users especially should be aware of how these features tap onto users' intrinsic motivations and has the effect of leading them on.