BIGO LIVE is a live video streaming social media network that encourages users to randomly chat with strangers using their video calls feature. The emphasis of connecting with strangers on BIGO LIVE is a major red flag that this app is NOT safe for students. In our experience, apps like this are commonly used by predators to target minors.
What is the BIGO LIVE app?
- BIGO LIVE is a live video streaming social media network based in Singapore
- Users can go live with video streaming, video chat with others, or watch live stream videos from other broadcasters
- Video calls can be one-on-one or group chats with up to 9 users
- BIGO LIVE encourages users to randomly chat with strangers via the video calls feature
- Similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories, there are several filters available that can change the user’s appearance
- The Voice Chat Rooms are designed for users to live voice chat with strangers
- During a live stream, viewers can comment on the video for everyone to see
- The BIGO LIVE app is free but users can purchase “beans” which they give to their favorite broadcasters as a gift or tip.
- Broadcasters can then exchange their “beans” for real money
- Similar to video games, users can level up their rank on the app by logging in daily, watching other live stream videos, and sending/receiving “beans”
- The higher a broadcaster climbs the ranks the more their live streams will be shown to viewers
Why should parents care?
- The emphasis of connecting with strangers on BIGO LIVE is a major red flag that this app is NOT safe for students
- Content on the app can be mature, violent, and inappropriate for teens
- The app relies on AI to verify a user’s age and there are several reports of younger students bypassing the AI
- Commentary on live videos can often lead to bullying behavior
- Broadcasters are rewarded for growing their following which can lead to them doing extreme or dangerous activities
- In our experience, apps like this are commonly used by predators to target minors
The BIGO LIVE app in the news:
[BIGO LIVE] has a lot of mature content and users’ comments are often predatory and explicit. –Huntersville Police Department
Due to the fact that this app may place your child in a position where they are encouraged to share inappropriate photos or videos with strangers in addition to exposing them to adult content, no child under 18 should use this app.–SaferKid
The combination of overexposure-happy attitudes and transactional nature of the app makes watching those streams (and the accompanying chat messages) a little uncomfortable.–TechInAsia
What parents and students say about BIGO LIVE:
“This is pretty much an adult app. 90% of the people on here are horrible! You have people showing body parts and not getting banned.” –Parent
“Children are allowed to play the [built-in] games and won’t be banned for being underage as their policy is no face no ban. We see kids from as young as 8 [using BIGO LIVE].” –Parent
“I keep getting ads for this and they are inappropriate. Even without getting it ads show vulgar behavior. Don’t let your kids download this.” –Student
What can parents do?
- Follow our suggestions to help your child prepare for the responsibility of having a cell phone:
- Ages 0-10: No phone
- Age 10: Cell phone safety contract
- Ages 10-13: Flip phone (SMS/text, phone calls)
- Age 14: Smartphone (without social media apps installed)
- Age 15: Smartphone (with positive social media apps installed)
- If your child has the BIGO LIVE app, talk to them about the dangers of using the app and delete it
- Have regular discussions with your children about social media. Talk about predators, how they use apps to target minors, and what they should do if they encounter one online
- Ensure that your children have a firm understanding of what is okay to share online (and what should be kept private) BEFORE giving them access to social media
- Remind your kids that not everyone is who they say they are online
- When you’re ready for your student to be on social media, help them create a profile on one of our Green Zone apps