Meerkat – What Every Parent Needs to Know

Meerkat is a live streaming application. Meerkat connects your phone camera to your Twitter feed; once you’ve installed the app, you type in a status and hit the “stream” button—and just like that, a link goes out to your Twitter followers with live video from wherever it is you’re pointing the camera.

The hope behind the app is that it (and others like it) will expand the reach of citizen journalism. At the moment, when events happen in the world, they’re tweeted and hashtagged, and people can follow along on Facebook and Twitter. By also using an streaming app like Meerkat, broadcasters can share what they’re seeing as it unfolds. Things like riots and protests could be viewed in real-time without any form of private or governmental filters.

Cyberbullying and privacy concerns:

Meerkat has the potential, when used inappropriately by teens, to be a live cyberbullying tool. It is not uncommon for teens to video record others and then post the video the internet to be the object of ridicule. Live streaming apps enhance the experience as it is happening live. These streams can be recorded as well. 

Teens could also be live casting personal information about themselves and others (they may not be willing participants), such as where they live, go to school, or other compromising information.

Cyber Safety Cop does not recommend this social media app for minors. The lack of privacy and potential for abuse is too high to be safe for teens.


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About the Author

Clayton Cranford
Clayton Cranford is a retired Sergeant from Orange County Sheriff's Department in California and owner of Total Safety Solutions LLC. Clayton is one of the nation’s leading law enforcement educators on social media, child safety, and behavioral threat assessments. Clayton is the author of the definitive book on cyber safety for families, “Parenting in the Digital World.” Clayton has more than 20 years of teaching experience and was awarded the 2015 National Bullying Prevention Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council, and the 2015 American Legion Medal of Merit. Clayton was a member of the County's Behavioral Threat Assessment Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, School Resource Officer program, and Juvenile Bureau.