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YouNow: A danger to children?

Too much of his environment shown on YouNow - and users already know where to find one
Photo: biglike / iStock

The video platform is currently THE trend among children and adolescents - and a danger

YouNow offers real-time self-expression - and is used primarily by children and adolescents. More and more data and youth protection officers warn!

YouNow is extremely popular with kids and teens - we've already talked about how the video platform works. But the danger associated with YouNow is underestimated by most.

I am curious and go to the side of YouNow. I've just been in Lisa's video chat for five minutes (which I did not even have to register on the site for) and just listen to what she's telling her viewers. In live chat their fans ask questions to them. I already know after that short time when I listen to Lisa's answers, which city she lives in, which school she's on, how old she is and how her best friend (sitting next to her) is called. Lisa and her girlfriend are pretty girls, 16 and 17 years old. And too open ...

YouNow is via app as well as in the browser operated and well-known, because it also many YouTube stars use. But while YouTube uploads pre-produced videos, YouNow transmits life in real time.

Users report on their lives and answer via webcam to questions from viewers, with whom they can chat in an accompanying chat. It's like a press conference from your own nursery. And the kids who use it can feel like real stars . So much attention, so much interest in her life. They get along before they step in front of the camera and are often heavily made-up. And for that they get compliments from their spectators. That's nice...

Data Protection and Youth Protection Commissioners are taking a storm. "SCHAU HIN! What your child does with media", the media guide for families (an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, etc.) warns explicitly: "For children and adolescents such services are inappropriate, because they do not know whoever is watching, and these personal recordings can quickly circulate online and fall into the wrong hands, "says SCHAU HIN! media coach Kristin Langer. "It's important that parents keep track of what offers their child uses and with whom they interact."

The best example is again the livecam of Lisa and her friend. As I said, I was only a few minutes on her side and have seen in the chat questions and prompts like "Do you fancy a threesome?", "Show your feet" ... Lisa ignores these lines, read other questions. But Lisa is already 16 years old ("almost 17!"). At some point she asks her audience back, "How old are you?" and gets answers like 21, 16, 18, but also 9 and 11. Does an 11-year-old react as coolly to inappropriate requests as Lisa?

"11 But you're not supposed to be here at 11, " notes Lisa. Yes, participants need a Facebook, Google + or Twitter account and must be at least 13 years old - but the age is not checked.

YouNow has according to their own information, meanwhile also German-speaking, moderator team, which monitors the chats 24 hours a day. But with 100 million user sessions a month worldwide, 15 percent of them from Germany, how reliable can the moderator team work?

"It is also difficult for viewers to remain anonymous and to exploit adolescents' unwaryness with adverse intentions and to harass users with pornographic content, " emphasizes "SCHAU HIN".

The media advisor recommends that parents and children best make the following joint arrangements:

1. Always discuss your registration and use of Internet services with your parents. What fascinates your child about it? Why would you like to join?

2. Use only impersonal chat names, do not post private information, and remember that pictures and clips can also be saved and reused.

3. Avoid contact with other chat partners, be persuaded, break unpleasant conversations, leave the chat and report and block the person.

4. Never continue the chat in private rooms or meet "real".

5. Agree that children should contact parents in case of questions or unpleasant situations.

Parents and children can report inappropriate content via the "I-KiZ" portal or on . In serious cases, children and parents receive help with the number against Kummer eV (child and youth phone: 0800-1110333, parents hotline: 0800-1110550) or the police. Further support is provided by the initiatives "Preventing abuse!" as well as bittersweet.

Even well-known creators such as LeFloid and Tooncraft now warn against the too-open use of YouNow: