All possible media have already mentioned that one of the main marketing trends in 2020 is video content. The audience is migrating from Facebook and Instagram to the platforms that were initially made for video materials. Therefore it is the time when TikTok, YouTube and Twitch will completely take all the glory. Generation Z was born with gadgets in hands. It is not surprising that all the “in action” content, especially gaming, makes an integral part of their identity. No matter whether they play or watch someone else playing. Parents of younger representatives of Gen Z are worried about their children’s fanaticism about this kind of activity. That’s why it is crucial for them to know whether Twitch is a safe and legit place to let kids be present there. Let’s look into a matter and find the answers!
What Parents Need to Know About Twitch?
Twitch is one of the leading streaming platforms nowadays. The fact can prove it namely the most watched stream GameDonesQuick has got 1.7 M followers and 20,122,707 viewing hours in the last 30 days. Consumption of online content on such platforms as Twitch displaced good old television. In addition to games, there are lots of so-called IRL (in real life) content featuring such categories as Food & Drink, Science & Technology, Makers & Crafting. In a word, such content can greatly help your child’s self-development while he is watching with pleasure other people being engaged in creating or making something.
It is also an opportunity for your kid to focus on the field he would like to pursue in the future. If your child chooses this path, he can become unbelievably affluent. Popular gamers and streamers who dedicated their lives to this kind of activity make a fortune. Nevertheless, not all creative people have become geniuses, you know.
What is more, major world-famous events, talk shows, and podcasts are broadcasted there, and it’s quite comfortable to watch them on Twitch. At first glance, everything seems irreproachable.
Meanwhile, parents should keep both eyes open and never leave things to chance. Twitch is not as safe as one expects. It is full of sexual, lewd, and violent material that your child can come across. Some of the streams has a so-called warning sign “for mature audiences only” but who has it ever stopped?
Your kid can get to such streams by accident or intentionally. The fact remains – there are no age-verification measures on the site when you have already logged in.
Each parent should know that Twitch can be both a sheltered place and a dangerous one. It all depends on how you make it for your child.
Is Twitch Safe for Kids?
It is quite difficult to call Twitch a safe and kid-friendly place. However, in order not to frighten parents, it is worth mentioning that this popular video-streaming service might be not a threatening environment as well. Here are the most important nuances that adults should pay attention to and take them into account when allowing their children to use Twitch.
- Most of the games are excessively violent and can provoke hatred. Survival horrors, shooting, fighting, beat-em-up games are impossible without brutality, featuring a lot of blood and usage of various weapons.
- An abusive vocabulary of users is impossible to take under control. No matter whether they use foul language while live streams, in chat rooms or write in private messages, the chances are very high that your child will see or hear it, memorize, and never forget. Unfortunately, not all content can be moderated or censored, especially when it comes to live streams. Parents should be cautious.
- Sexual content is one more thing that can be harmful. It is obvious that Twitch forbids any debauchery and pornographic content. However, “the sirens of the 21st century” contrive to avoid terms and conditions. A special notion has even appeared – “Twitch thot” that is designed to describe a woman that displays all her charms to earn money. Follow this link to find out more about these female streamers.
- Grooming has recently become widespread on Twitch. Groomers understand the psychology of the child very well. They easily wriggle into a child’s favor and then use them for income or personal satisfaction. Groomers often sell photos on child pornography sites and then extort money from them.
A Twitch spokesman said:
“The safety of our community is a top priority and one in which we are perpetually investing”.
This is an ambitious statement but why is the platform accused of grooming so often then?
- Bullying is another big problem on Twitch. Inappropriate images, offensive comments, and even threats can easily shake child’s mental health and set off the depression. Kinds are still unstable and vulnerable and their lives might be extremely exposed to danger. Cyberbullying is even more menacing than in person. Harmful materials spread faster, and sometimes it’s impossible to escape them.
- Twitch is a time-waster. Although it depends on the side you look from. At present, we spend the boundless amount of time online and have already started forgetting about other life pleasures off screen.
- Twitch can become a real money-waster. Each subscription to an individual broadcaster costs money, and children usually pay without making things out. It is also very beneficial for scammers who are present on Twitch as well.
- There are lots of adverts on the platform that can easily prompt kids to enquire about drugs, alcohol, tobacco goods. What is more, such advertisements can cause a desire to own those goods that the family can not afford. Therefore it might provoke glaring contradictions and conflicts among family members.
It goes without saying that there are good streamers on Twitch who mind their language and are responsible for the content produced. However, official so-called kid-friendly channels do not exist.
Please mind: even if you have found a polite streamer who avoid profanity and other harmful aspects, the game itself might be aggressive and deleterious.
What’s the Right Age for Twitch?
According to the Terms and Conditions, Twitch is inaccessible for individuals under the age of 13. Those users between 13 and 18 should use the platform with adults.
Youngsters are so good at technical issues at present that this is not an issue for them to get around such restrictions. It might be problematic to control the child’s every step on Twitch but parents have to do their best.
The age after 16 might be the right for Twitch. However, the longer you are able to postpone your child’s presence on the video-streaming service the better.
What Can You Do to Keep Your Children Safe?
Communication between parents and children is much more complicated now. Teenagers are absolutely convinced that adults are not able to understand them because of the generation gap. Nevertheless, parents can and must protect teenagers from deplorable consequences of Twitch streaming.
- Talk to your offsprings as with adults, and explain what is allowed to be shared online and what is not. Give examples from real life to make it as clear as possible. Let them understand that they can tell you everything without any fear of being torn to pieces or told off.
- Do not let smaller kids use Twitch without your supervision.
- Block inappropriate content that pops up, and suspicious users, Whispers (private messages), and explain to your kid how he can make it himself.
- Agree on the time limits of your child’s pastime online. Let such restrictions become a habit and drive the message to your child that “please, 10 minutes more” are not even discussed.
- Explore Twitch together, and say your steps and actions out loud. If you find something irrelevant or inadmissible, make sure that you have explained your child clearly why.
- Try to keep your children occupied by something other more to cut their time down in front of the computer.
N.B. Never forbid anything to the child without explaining the reason. He can do everything exactly the opposite to annoy you and show the character.
Being a very popular streaming service, Twitch attracts much attention from ill-wishers. Each parent is responsible for his children’s activity, both online and offline. Adults should not completely ban using Twitch if kids display a keen interest in it. However, they should always remember that it is potentially risky. Keep an eye on your child’s pastime online and make the Web a safe place for him.