THUNDER BAY – Keeping your children and grandchildren safer online means paying attention.
Police and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, through its Cybertip.ca program, wants to make parents aware of the app Cake — Live Stream Video Chat and its risks for teens after learning about the app and its significant volume of sexual content.
What are the concerns?
1. This app’s content is primarily sexual in nature
A recent experiment showed that in less than 12 hours of creating an account four unsolicited messages with sexual content were received, including a sexually explicit video from a male user. Sections of the app include the “Hot List” and “Top Cakers” where the top 10 profile pictures are exclusively young females, most of whom are in provocative poses. The profile picture that was used in the experiment was NOT sexually suggestive.
2. Teens can connect and share videos with anyone, which increases the risk of sextortion
Cake’s one-on-one video chat encourages users to connect to people they don’t know in “Go Private Random.” They can also join private chat rooms or public broadcast rooms. This creates opportunities for individuals to seek out youth and gradually manipulate them into sharing sexual images or videos, which can be captured as screenshots or video without your teen ever knowing.
3. Live streaming videos earns users cash value, which encourages risk-taking behaviour
The app encourages users to share live video broadcasts and to video chat with new people by rewarding them with “diamonds,” which can be exchanged for cash value. Users can also earn “diamonds” from others by completing specific requests made by users watching the live stream and broadcasting parties. This may encourage teens to take risks like talking to people they do not know, who can ask them to perform tasks that may progress to being sexual in nature.
4. No enforcement of minimum age requirement means younger kids are using Cake
What can parents do?
1. If your child is under the age of 13, they should NOT be on Cake. The highly sexual nature of the app also raises questions about why youth need to use it at all. Have a conversation with your teen about choosing a more appropriate app for live streaming with their friends.
2. Talk to your teen about the risks of live streaming, including that anyone watching can capture a screenshot or video without them knowing.
3. Encourage your teen to talk to you about weird or uncomfortable moments they encounter. Emphasize that it is never too late to come to you for help, even if they have made a mistake.
4. If they are going to use the app, review the security/privacy settings with your teen and take these steps:
• Select “Discover” in the bottom right corner of the screen and then the settings icon in the top right corner.
• For the “Profile Visible” setting, select “Hidden” so your teen is not visible to all users.
• For the “Private Call” setting, select “Not Accept” so your teen does not get calls from unknown users.
5. Review your teen’s “Friends,” “Followers,” and “Following” lists. Ask your teen if they know each person offline and have them delete the rest.