Initially launched in 2011, Twitch is a video livestreaming service that focuses on video game livestreaming—including broadcasts of eSports competitions, in addition to offering music broadcasts, and creative content. Twitch is the world’s largest social video platform and gaming community. According to a January 2023 report from Statista, Twitch had 7.03 million active streamers at the end of 2022, which is actually a decrease from its peak of 9.89 million in January 2021. This platform can be risky for young users because it offers easy access to adult themes and content in addition to the chat feature that can offer a way for strangers and potential predators to communicate with children. A streamer can indicate that their channel is intended for mature audiences, which provides a warning for minors of inappropriate content.
Twitch’s live, spontaneous nature makes it difficult to filter content.
- Users can send direct messages or “whispers,” which gives strangers the opportunity to send children unsolicited messages.
- Hate speech and cyberbullying are recurring issues on the platform.
- There have been video of some mass shootings livestreamed on Twitch.
Twitch offers 5 different categories: Games, IRL (in real life), Music, Esports, and Creative.
- Inappropriate content can be common in the IRL categories of Pools, Hot Tubs and Beaches, and ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response).
- Streamers have been known to broadcast wearing risqué or revealing clothes while talking live to viewers.
Twitch can be a lot of fun for kids, but parents should still take to educate themselves about the risks for young users. Twitch’s terms of service dictate that only gamers 13 and older are allowed and those under 18 must have parental supervision. One method of monitoring children’s activity is by co-watching to ensure the content is age-appropriate. Parents should talk with their children about the streamers they would like to watch and watch it before the child. Children should click “not interested” if a mature content warning is seen after clicking on a video. Parents can block private messages from strangers—however, it doesn’t work if the child messages them first. Blocking whispers from strangers is very simple and can be found in settings and clicking on “Security and Privacy.” For more information on how to manage a Twitch account, parents can view the How to Manage Harassment in Chat section on Twitch to learn how to block other users, turn on chat filters, disable links in chats, and other settings. We also strongly suggest parents have conversations with their children about spending money because many streamers solicit donations on the app.
Want To Learn More?
For more information about this platform, check out Common Sense Media’s review of Twitch, which includes what parents and kids say about the app, what parents should talk about, app details, and much more.