NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The new Periscope app lets anyone be a live broadcaster to the world using a Twitter feed to stream live video.
But as CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported, there are major concerns about how the app could be misused.
Downloading the Periscope app and opening it up is like opening up little windows into people’s lives all over the world.
CBS2 tried it out in the newsroom, and watched someone’s Passover Seder, someone’s cat just hanging out, and someone’s walk through Midtown – broadcasting people who probably had no idea.
“So you have to be aware that anytime you’re somewhere in public, if someone has their phone out, there’s at least a chance they’re recording you — not just recording you, but broadcasting you live,” said CNET editor Dan Ackerman.
Ackerman said there are many apps that serve the same function. But Periscope works seamlessly with Twitter, so everyone who follows you there can easily see what you’re broadcasting — and comment on it.
“That’s usually great, but you can also get harassed that way,” Ackerman said. “Somebody can just pepper you with messages and be really annoying.”
And psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Gardere said that can be dangerous, especially for kids.
“All sorts of comments are coming in, and we know there’s a bully and a gang mentality on the Web where one person says something negative and then people start piling on, so people could be hurt by this emotionally,” Gardere said.
And teenagers are naturally inclined to misuse something like this, Gardere warned.
“Their brains are not fully formed, so they have a lot of lapses in judgement,” he said. “They act on impulse. They tend to be more exhibitionist in their behaviors. And therefore, they put themselves at a lot of risk.”
Gardere’s advice for parents is to learn about social media apps and how your kids are using them.
“Because banning them from using them, in nine out of 10 cases, is not going to work,” he said.
There are Periscope user guidelines. No pornography, incitement of violence, or harassment are allowed. Users of the app agree to those rules, and their accounts can be disabled if the rules are violated.