When a Child Wants to Become a Twitch Streamer: a Parents' Guide to Streaming

Twitch has become amazingly popular among the young generation. Though the majority of Twitch audience is between the ages 18 and 34, more and more under 16-s become a part of the Twitch community. According to Twitch ToS, users should have 13 years of age to register on the website, but there is no serious verification of the real age of the user. So, the rule doesn’t actually prevent young people from using Twitch. It’s up to parents to understand the risks that live streaming can pose to their children at a young age.

One of the latest incidents on Twitch revealed inappropriate actions of a Dutch Twitch streamer and Fortnite player Aaitpose. This streamer was accused of allegedly grooming minors. Aaitpose was immediately banned by Twitch, but how many other perverts are still there on Twitch hiding under presentable gaming accounts? The thing is not only about Twitch: once you have allowed your children to surf the net, you should be aware of potential risks they may face there. Be sincere with your child, instruct him/her and be always ready to help and take action in case somebody intends to abuse your child.

What Do Kids Watch on Twitch?

Twitch allows making broadcasts devoted to any topic, however, the majority of people are there to watch or stream gaming content. Usually, young people enjoy watching such games as Street Fighter, League of Legends, eSports tournaments as well as the broadcast of such big geek events as E3, Comic Con, PAX, etc. Talk shows and podcasts are also objects of interest for teenagers. Twitch fans that are more creatively oriented watch non-gaming content: painting (Bob Ross), cooking (Julis Child’s The French Chef), music making (DJ Deadmau5) and so on.

Is There Any Dangerous Content on Twitch?

The biggest danger of streaming is that it’s uncontrolled. Streaming is happening at the moment and is all about off-the-cuff style of communication. As with any other live content, it cannot be moderated and may include violent or offensive information. All this makes Twitch a perfect platform for trolls and cyberbullies. Below are some examples of inappropriate content that your child may find on Twitch:

  • Sexual content: though Twitch guidelines forbid “bikini streamers”, people find other ways to demonstrate their sexuality, sometimes by doing this too salaciously. 
  • Private messages: they may contain any grooming, offensive or malicious content. 
  • Grooming: predators often play kids-most-favorite games like Minecraft or Fortnite and may cover up their true intentions for a long time.
  • Scammers: children are the most vulnerable audience. There are a lot of scammers that make kids transfer money to somebody accounts, follow a malicious link, delete system 32 or just pour water over the graphics card – all this for trolls’ financial profit and fun.

Does Twitch Provide Kids-Friendly Channels?

Unfortunately, no. Initially, Twitch meant to be for adults’ audience only. Today, Twitch allows to register everyone under 13 years old reminding that users between 13 and 18 should use the platform under the supervision of adults. Almost all parents of teenagers know that controlling children of that age is problematic. So, in order to create a safe online presence for your child, it’s important to keep a friendly dialogue and comprehend streaming realities. 

With the growing amount of youth streaming, Twitch encourages streamers mark their content if it’s not appropriate for young people. There are also a lot of streaming channels that focus on family content. Such streamers pay more attention to their speech, avoid profanity, racism, sexism, homophobia, control chat carefully (enforce a no-profanity rule), don’t stream mature games, and try to keep the overall gaming environment clean. If your child is a fan of some specific game, try to ask Google or a popular website Reddit about popular family/teens/kids/youth streaming channels in the corresponding game category. 

Some of the Teens Friendly Streamers Include:

  • iateyourpie  –  for all Super Mario Maker fans.
  • CohhCarnage – a leader of a community of people who all share the "Happy, Helpful, Respectful" Mantra.  A home for everyone who is looking for a great community of friends and family. 
  • iHasCupquake – a festive and very friendly channel where everyone can find gaming adventures (Minecraft in particular), fun geeky baking and DIY videos. 
  • Fortnite Twitch superstar Tyler "Ninja" Belvins who recently decided to make his channel more family friendly, because Fortnite has become a favorite game of children around the world.
  • Rahhzay – the Moogle Mama, partnered Family-Friendly Twitch broadcaster, and Freelance Graphic Designer.
  • SypherPK – a popular Fortnite streamer that provides pro-level gameplay and pro-level tips.
  • NickEh30  – another popular 21 years old Fortnite streamer, very energetic and positive. 

N.B. You should understand that kids-friendly streams don’t always mean kids-friendly games. With a polite streamer, there can be vulgar or aggressive content in the game itself, even in Super Mario Maker streams, not to mention Mortal Kombat.

What Should Parents Do to Secure Their Children While Streaming?

  • Make Your Children Familiar With Streaming As Late As Possible 

Limit the access to Twitch or other streaming platforms until your child reaches at least the age of 13. Indeed, Twitch doesn’t have any value for your children, except pure entertainment. So, insofar as possible, try to offer your kids other ways of having fun and filling up their free time. If you let your child under 13-s watch Twitch, be sure that he/she does this only under your supervision. 

  • Become a Trusting Guide For Your Children: Let The Kid Watch Streaming Content With You

If you enjoy streaming on your own, it may seem unfairly to forbid your children do what their parents do. There are two possible ways of solving the problem: a) you should stream only when your children are not with you (sleeping, going into sections, gyms, etc.) or giving them a chance to watch your play or maybe participate in some way in your stream (if only you stream kids-friendly content). If there is no a forbidden fruit for them, maybe they won’t be asking about registering their own account. 

  • Make Your Child Familiar With Safety Rules

Before letting your child have a Twitch account, tell him/her about the main security tips. For instance, your child should know that it’s forbidden to share any personal information about him/her and his/her family on Twitch. In case of any strange activity, ask your child to notify you immediately.

  • Supervise Your Child Online Activity

If your child has a Twitch account and you let him/her actively search on the Internet, you can restrict some apps and websites with the help of different parental control tools like Net Nanny, Kaspersky SafeKids, etc. It’s better to discuss these steps with your child to avoid misunderstanding: explain that by having such control apps you want to protect him/her and not just keep an eye on his/her activity. Make sure that your child is streaming a kids-friendly game and has chat moderators to filter out profanity and abusive expressions.

  • Be Aware of Your Child’s Interests

Get to know which channels your child has subscribed to, learn more about these personalities, ensure that your child watches an age-appropriate content. If you find somebody behaves suspiciously, discuss this with your child. Block any strangers that send personal messages to your child or invite him/her into a chat room.

  • Limit The Time Your Child Use Twitch

You can do this with the help of special tools, like Family Zone: simply add time limits when your child is allowed to watch or stream on Twitch. 

Takeaways 

Today, everyone can stream themselves to the world at the click of one button. It’s amazing and entertaining. It’s a new level of openness and communication. But, at the same time, it’s fraught with danger: uncontrolled information, frauds, perverts, the list can be continued. Twitch is potentially risky for your child. And if you want to secure him/her, it’s a commitment of you to understand the platform and its ground rules. Your knowledge will help your child enjoy live streaming and learn how to use Twitch wisely.

7/4/2019