NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – There’s a group of individuals who monitor livestreaming apps and websites, looking for children who might be in harm’s way.
The group is Sheepdog Bloodhound and the founder, Reverend Paul Irwin, is based in Canada.
“We simply watch what’s happening in the streams,” said Irwin. “We try and educate and where we can intervene.”
Irwin says he almost exclusively monitors the app Live.me.
Recently, he contacted Metro police after he says he saw a young girl exposing herself on the app.
“Using a simple triangulation and GPS, we can find anyone who is livestreaming on Live.me,” said Irwin. “That’s what I did in this case and reached out to your police department.”
Metro police received the tip and went to speak with the mom at the address Irwin gave them.
April Miller told News 2 she checked her daughter’s devices and didn’t find anything but admits it could have been another family member in the home.
Metro police say they receive tips from many different mediums, but this was their first tip from Sheepdog Bloodhound.
Police say when they have limited information, they’ll notify the parents that there’s a possibility their teen is exposing themselves online.
Recently, they’ve had to do more notifications because more teens are exposing themselves on live streaming applications, where they think their images won’t be recorded or a screen shot won’t be captured. But they can and people do.
“As a parent I would certainly want to know if there was a hint that my own child was out there doing something that was putting themselves at risk like that,” said Detective Robert Carrigan with the Metro Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Taskforce. “I would want to know the information so I can at least talk to my child. Maybe I don’t find anything on his device but maybe I start monitoring a little bit closer.”
Irwin says they sometimes can’t tell who the person is livestreaming but they are able to find the location.
News 2 asked for Irwin to find us, and he did once we went “live” on Live.me.
We reached out to Live.me, which said it’s Terms of Service requires users to be at least 13 years old. They also have human moderators who “ensure the 300,000 hours of content being broadcast daily adheres to our community guidelines.”
Live.me said they are aware of Sheepdog Bloodhound as “they actively report violations they encounter… We treat any violations they report the same as we do those from parents, community members, or law enforcement.”
Live.me also provided the following statement:
The safety of our users is a top priority for Live.me. Our community guidelines reflect our zero-tolerance policy towards any indecent or inappropriate behavior, and we take all allegations of violations against those guidelines very seriously. Additionally, self-harm and cyber bullying are areas we consider equally important in order to ensure a safe and friendly broadcasting atmosphere. Live.me has partnered directly with Crisis Text Line to provide our community with free resources and support from trained professionals. (Users can text SHINE to 741741 to access this resource for all types of difficult issues they might be facing.) Live.me also works with leading industry professionals such as Save.org to make sure we’re on the forefront of the best practices of user safety for live video media formats.
Beyond existing safeguards in our app, and strict protocols for our moderators to address any violations, our automatic software detection and human moderators are on call 24 hours a day. We actively support law enforcement in identifying and prosecuting any users found to be endangering our community in any way, and remain committed to improving upon and providing more tools and resources to ensure everyone can enjoy their broadcasting experience.