Over the past few decades, video games have pushed the boundaries of entertainment. Contrary to popular belief, children, teenagers and young adults no longer see video games as a hobby, but as a passion that influences the way they think, their future careers and even their lives.
Thanks to the dramatic increase in popularity of gaming platforms, gamers worldwide have found ways to turn their passion into a job, a career and a sport. And that brings us to perhaps the most in-demand platform for the gaming industry.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is an online platform where people can broadcast their gameplay for others to see. But that is not all. Streamers can use the platform to express their talent in music, sports, eSports or even cooking. As the most popular streaming platform specializing in gaming, Twitch also allows professional gamers to make a career out of their profession by participating in eSports tournaments and competing for large amounts of money.
While the official website is the first way to access Twitch, you can also use the companion application. It is widely used on many platforms including PC, gaming consoles, mobile phones and tablets.
What can my child do on Twitch?
Simply put, users use Twitch to watch other people’s content in real time or to broadcast their own. However, as a concerned parent, it is best to learn as much as possible about the platform’s features to be prepared for any unwanted situations. So, here’s what your child can do when they join Twitch:
Watch live streams
While Twitch focuses primarily on streaming video games, streamers can broadcast anything as long as it doesn’t violate the platform’s terms of service. On Twitch, a streamer’s content should not include:
- Violence or blood
- Bullying or harassment
- Endangerment of child welfare
- Hateful behavior
- Full or partial nudity or sexual explicitness
- Fraud or spam
- Malicious pranks
- Animal endangerment
- slurs or symbols
Interact with others
The website offers various communication methods that viewers can use to interact with each other or with the streamer. The most common methods are:
Every live channel has a chat box. And anyone watching the stream can use it to read and send messages as long as the streamer does not set any restrictions or manually block a viewer.
Donations and subscriptions
In most cases, people who donate money or subscribe to a channel can write a message that appears on each viewer’s screen and is sometimes read aloud by an AI.
When you mention a specific user on Twitch, you forward your message to them in the live chat box. People use this feature to get the streamer’s attention or to respond to another viewer’s question.
Whisper allows users to message each other directly and privately. The feature is intended to help viewers share clips and links or discuss topics unrelated to the stream.
Twitch offers the perfect online stage for anyone looking to express their gamer self in front of an audience. Streamers who manage to form a stable audience also have the opportunity to play video games.
They make money by getting viewers to donate or subscribe to their channel. When a Twitch streamer reaches the affiliate or partner level, they unlock the feature to earn revenue for running ads on their stream. However, the ads will not be shown to the channel’s subscribers.
Is Twitch kid-friendly?
Twitch is a phenomenal social platform that offers viewers hours of free entertainment and streamers the chance to shine. However, it has various problems when it comes to child safety. As a live stream platform that broadcasts everything in real time, it is almost impossible to filter out inappropriate behavior. The only solution is to ban misbehaving channels or people after violating the terms of service.
Another problem is Twitch’s ineffective age restriction system. Theoretically, only people over the age of 13 can register on the platform. However, in reality, it discourages an underage child from logging into Twitch as there is no age verification system. Plus, watching most shows doesn’t require an account.
However, parental control apps like Safes can help you implement the age verification feature externally. Let’s say one of your children is too young to be on Twitch. In this case, Safes allows you to permanently block the website and the platform’s companion applications on their devices. You can also set screen time limits to prevent addictive, excessive use of the application.
Is Twitch Safe for Teen Streamers?
By allowing your teenage son or daughter to stream on Twitch, you are introducing them to a social world where everyone can watch and interact with your child. Currently, the platform does not offer any parental control features. There is also no third-party or external app capable of monitoring your stream. However, there are several safety measures you can follow to avoid unwanted situations.
While Twitch has its own list of banned terms and phrases that users cannot say, streamers also have the option to manually ban certain words. As a responsible parent, you may want to use this feature to block inappropriate messages in the live chat box of your child’s stream. To access this feature, follow the steps below:
- Open your child’s channel settings.
- Select “Moderation” on the left side of the menu.
- Click on “Blocked terms and phrases”
- Add any word or phrase you want to block in live chat. Note: Consider adding similar or misspelled versions of each blocked word.
Block whispers from strangers
If you don’t want strangers to message your child privately, you should block Wispers from strangers by following the steps below:
- Open your child’s channel settings.
- Select “Security and privacy.
- In the Privacy category, enable “Block whispers from strangers.”
Report inappropriate behavior
Teach your teenage son or daughter to report anyone who says or asks something inappropriate. If the report is adopted, it will result in a temporary or, in some cases, a permanent ban. To report a viewer on the official Twitch website:
- Click on their username and open their profile.
- Select the three dots next to the Follow/Subscribe button.
- Click „Report something else.“
- Select the reason for your report
- Click on Continue. „
Increase account security
To protect your child’s account from hacking, instruct them to use strong passwords that are different from those they use on other devices and websites. Sharing the same password across multiple platforms puts the security of those accounts at risk if one of them is hacked. To enable two-factor account authentication for additional protection, follow these steps:
- Open your child’s channel settings.
- Click the „Security and Privacy“ tab.
- In the Security category, select Set up two-factor authentication.
- Click the “Enable 2FA” button.
- Enter a valid phone number and select „Continue.“ „
- Enter the account password when prompted and click Next. At this point, Twitch will send an SMS with a 7-digit code to the phone number provided.
- Click on the gray field on the far left and enter the code. Then click „Next. If you want even more security for your child’s account, follow the next steps. If not, click „Skip & User SMS. „
- Download and install the Google Authenticator app from the Google Play Store (Android devices) or the App Store (iOS devices). After installing the app, open it and press the colorful plus sign.
- Select „Scan QR Code“ and scan the image provided by Twitch. Now Google Authenticator will generate a random code under the title “Twitch (Twitch)”. Note: Codes are randomized every thirty seconds.
- Use this code to complete the two-factor authentication process on Twitch.
Talk to your child
Educate your child about the importance of not sharing their personal information, such as your home address. If they want to stream using a portable device, warn them not to display the surroundings of your home in their stream. Ask them not to link their private accounts on other social platforms to their Twitch account and not to share them with viewers.
Assign a moderator
Twitch allows streamers to assign specific people as moderators. A moderator’s job is to ensure that viewers behave according to the channel’s standards. You are allowed to remove inappropriate messages in live chat and block viewers if necessary.
Since anyone with a T-Witch account is eligible to become a moderator, you can even rate your child’s stream yourself. However, if you don’t have time and are still worried about your child’s safety, we recommend hiring a professional facilitator for the job.
Moderators are freelancers, so it is best to post a job on credible freelance job boards. To assign someone as a channel moderator, you need to know their Twitch username. If you do this, you can add them by typing “/mod. Enter „User Name“ in the live chat field.
The impact of Twitch on child safety
As the world’s largest video game streaming platform, Twitch offers gamers a place to socialize, watch their favorite streamers play, or broadcast their own gaming adventures . Due to the real-time nature of live streams, it is virtually impossible to prevent inappropriate behavior before it happens. And Twitch doesn’t have built-in parental controls either. However, there are safety measures that parents can follow to avoid unwanted situations as much as possible.