Twitch - What you need to know

Twitch - What you need to know

What is Twitch?

First and foremost when you hear your kids talking about twitch, they aren't talking about an involuntary muscle movement, unless they are in which case seek medical advice! They are more likely to be discussing the social media platform Twitch. This platform was founded in 2011 and was then bought by Amazon in 2014.

Now I must admit I never really understood the fascination with the idea of watching other people gaming, I tended to enjoy playing the actual games myself, but that's exactly what this platform was designed for! Since then though it has expanded to include other types of content. For example, you can watch people cook, paint, or do other creative activities. There is also a large variety of channels to choose from, so there's something for everyone.

As of this year, it is reported that Twitch has over 140 million unique viewers each month, goes to show you I would make a terrible venture capitalist

Why do children like Twitch?

There are many reasons why children enjoy Twitch and here are just a few of them:

  • It's a great way for children to connect with children who share the same interests and other gamers from around the world
  • Children have the opportunity to interact with famous people
  • Playing games can help children develop skilled and strategic thinking
  • Watching others play games can be entertaining and educational for children
  • Some channels on Twitch offer creative content that can be inspiring for children
  • It can help children learn about new games and genres that they might not have otherwise tried
  • Twitch broadcasts e-sport competitions from Fortnite to Brawl Stars, children love the competition and Twitch is often the only platform streaming some of them
  • Twitch content creators can make money from what they do, with some of the highest paid making over $500,000 a month
Between August 2019 and October 2021

How old do you have to be to use Twitch?

As with most social media platforms, Twitch advises a 13+ policy for the age of users, although they also state in their terms of service that if you are +13 and under 18 you must be supervised by an adult. This is worth noting by parents as the platform can display adult content and also games that are graded M for mature.

Although Twitch is a popular platform, there are some risks to consider for young users. These are some of the more common ones:

  • Your child may be exposed to inappropriate content. Twitch does have a filtering system in place but this is certainly not foolproof
  • It can be very easy for the child to spend a lot of time on the platform and you should set boundaries with them.
  • Your child may be exposed to cyberbullying. The chatroom can be a place where people could say mean things to each other. It is best to discuss with your child how best to deal with this should they be exposed to it

Twitch does have a Safety Advisory Council that helps to moderate content on the platform. In addition, parents can set up parental controls to limit what their children can watch on Twitch.

Is there inappropriate content on Twitch?

As with all of the other social media platforms, there is inappropriate content to be found on Twitch. It is worth noting that there are many appropriate channels available too. It is best to discuss with the child what is acceptable. If you are concerned about a channel you should check the description, or better yet watch some of the content yourself to be sure. As mentioned before the filtering system is not foolproof so if you do discover inappropriate content be sure to report it to Twitch so they can improve their systems.

Twitch parental controls

Twitch does indeed have parental controls that can help in a few areas. You can choose what content is appropriate for your child. For example, you can block mature content or channels with bad language. You can also set a daily limit or restrict viewing to certain hours. You can set up the parental controls by doing the following:

  • Go to account settings
  • Choose restrict content
  • There you can choose to block mature content or channels that contain bad language
  • You can also set time limits or restrict viewing to certain hours of the day

As always you know how important I think it is to have discussions with your child and try to ensure some basic ground rules and boundaries are in place and agreed upon.  Here are a few ideas to help you out:

  • Make sure your child is aware of the different types of content that are available on Twitch, and talk to them about what is acceptable and appropriate for them to watch
  • Set parental controls on Twitch so that you have more control over what your child is viewing. You can restrict their access to certain channels or games that you don't want them to watch
  • Keep an eye on the chatroom to make sure that no one is behaving inappropriately, you can also restrict private messaging from people who are not on your child's friends list
  • Encourage your child to report any behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable. You can also use the reporting system yourself to report any inappropriate content or behaviour
  • Talk to your child about the content they're watching on Twitch. This will show that you have a genuine interest in what they are watching but also that you are genuinely trying to protect them.
  • Keep an eye on your child's viewing habits and talk to them if you have any concerns

Here is an excellent resource from the wonderful people over at National Online Safety

Please do share this blog post with any friends or family with children and do reach out to me with any questions you might have.

Be safe all and stay vigilant.