Livestreaming is becoming more popular, as TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other video-based social media become more accepted and commonplace. Parents, however, need to keep an eye out for lesser-known apps that may be a problem to filter through parental control software, and BIGO Live is one of them.
What Is BIGO Live?
BIGO Live is a livestreaming app similar to Twitch, based out of Singapore and owned by a Chinese technology company. Its content is primarily sorted into two categories; online gaming, where people play video games to entertain others, and “showbiz,” which largely falls into livestreams of people who are famous in Asia. The app is popular in Asia, and not as common in the West, but parents may still find their kids using it for various reasons, such as popular games being played on there.
It’s unusual in that users can give streamers currency called “beans,” which are bought through the app and translate to roughly 210 “beans” on the US dollar. Oddly, the site doesn’t make it particularly clear how the beans system works, which is a major warning flag for any in-app purchase.
Are There Risks With BIGO Live?
BIGO Live, when it’s appeared on the news, hasn’t done much to settle parents’ minds. The app has the dubious distinction of being banned by both India and Pakistan over claims of security issues and immorality. Just what that means, in particular, is less clear than you might think; it’s believed the bans are more about politics than content. Yet, understandably, this should worry parents.
As for the more prosaic concerns, if you browse the app’s website, what you find is about what you’d expect from a livestream app aimed largely at young adults. The content may be a judgment call to at least some degree for parents. At the same time, a point of concern is the seeming lack of parental controls.
Should Kids Be On BIGO Live?
While not seeming actively malicious, BIGO Live is clearly not intended for kids. Teenagers may be fine on there, but you should lay some ground rules.
- Stay off the app’s currency, and don’t give money to anyone on the app. This feature should be blocked with parental control software.
- Sit down with your teen and look at the streams they want to view to be sure there’s no content they’re not ready for.
- Make a list of games that are OK to stream. If they want to use the app, and set rules around streaming, what content can be shown, and what they can say, like any other online gaming platform.
- Check-in regularly with them and make sure that they’re not being harassed or threatened on the platform.
- Set days and times they can stream, such as no streaming until homework’s done.
Game streaming can be fun for kids, but it needs to be balanced with other needs. Parental control software can help you keep that balance, and block objectionable content. To learn more, try it for free!