In a recent study, we polled 5047 content creators in our Twitch streaming community, revealing that 75% believe Twitch is a dangerous platform for children.
Video game culture and the online communities connected to them have a long-standing reputation for including and even endorsing inappropriate content. For this reason, accessing Twitch can be hazardous to young people who are oblivious to the potential dangers.
By understanding the risks, parents can make informed decisions about whether or not their children should be using Twitch.
- 6.4% of Top Twitch Streamers have had sponsorship deals with online casinos.
- Predators have been known to use the platform to groom children.
- Cyberbullying is a problem on Twitch.
- Gaming addiction is a genuine concern for children who use Twitch.
- Financial scams through social engineering are common on Twitch.
- Profanity and adult content are easily accessible on Twitch.
- Sexualized content is often used as a ploy to increase donations.
- Drinking streams are popular on Twitch.
- Swatting streamers by calling law enforcement
- Some streamers have been known to engage in hate speech.
Dangers of Twitch
One of the most significant threats on the platform right now is large Twitch streamers who promote online gambling. These streamers are sponsored by online crypto casinos that fund the streams to promote their brand to the streamer’s audience.
If that weren’t bad enough, many streamers would promote gambling sites that cannot operate in the US due to a lack of license.
“6.4% of the most-trafficked Twitch streamers have streamed crypto slots or advertised sponsorship deals from crypto gambling websites”.
This is a massive problem, as online gambling is highly addictive and can lead to financial ruin. Or children on the platform who are already susceptible to the influencer of content creators they like; this is aconsiderable danger.
Parents should know the risks of casino gambling on Twitch and talk to their children about which creators they can watch. It is essential to monitor their child’s activity online to ensure they are not exposed to this content.
In our poll of 4100 content creators, 74% said gambling should not be allowed on Twitch. While most users on the platform are against the promotion of gambling, Twitch continues to enable the activity.
A significant danger on Twitch is predators who use the platform to groom children. This is a severe problem on the internet as a whole, as many young children use the site and are not aware of the dangers.
The greatest threat lies primarily in smaller stream communities that encourage the use of a Discord server. Often viewers play games with content creators and community members, striking up friendships. While most Twitch streamers do a great job keeping their chat safe, they can’t be vigilant at all times and have no power to see direct messages between members.
While Twitch whispers are possibly the main line of communication that predators can utilize, most outreach seems to take part on Discord.
Parents should be aware of the dangers of online predators on Twitch and talk to their children about being careful when talking to people online.
Twitch can be a breeding ground for cyberbullying. This is primarily due to toxic users in chat who hide behind anonymity to harass and bully others.
This behavior is especially prevalent in live streams where gamers try to concentrate on the game. The bullies often target minorities who they think are easy targets.
If they suspect a streamer is young or inexperienced, they will try to take advantage of them and bait a reaction. This can lead to the harassed person feeling isolated, anxious, and in extreme cases, even suicidal.
According to a study by Ditch the Label, 57% of young said they had experienced bullying while playing online games.
Cyberbullying can be highly damaging to kids and seriously impact a child’s short and long-term mental health and well-being.
Another danger of Twitch is that it can lead to gaming addiction. This is because the platform encourages users to watch streams and game for long periods and offers no natural way to step away from the content.
For kids who are already predisposed to developing a gaming addiction, Twitch can trigger them to spend excessive amounts of time playing video games.
This severe problem can hurt a child’s school performance, social life, and mental health. If you think your child may be addicted to gaming, you must talk to them about it and get them help from a professional if necessary.
Another danger of Twitch is the financial risks associated with stream donations. On the platform, viewers can donate money to their favorite streamers to support their content. Streamers encourage their fans to donate; children have been known to use their parent’s credit card details without permission.
This can lead to substantial financial problems for families and put children at risk. It’s important to talk to your kids about the dangers of donating money to streamers and ensure they understand that they should never give out personal information or credit card details online.
While there is no concrete evidence that using profanity while playing video games hurts kids, it could influence them in several ways. For one, kids who hear profanity while playing video games may be likelier to use it themselves in real life.
While Twitch does have chat filters and the “mature content” feature, kids will often ignore the pop-up and watch the channel regardless. The gaming community is rather notorious for using sexually explicit language, and this is especially prevalent in live gameplay.
Additionally, constant exposure to profanity could desensitize kids to its power and impact, making them more likely to use it casually or without thinking about the consequences.
One of the biggest dangers of sexual content on Twitch is that it could normalize specific behavior in children. While the vast majority of content on Twitch is suitable for all ages, there is a small but growing contingent of sexually suggestive and occasionally explicit content.
This often takes the form of “just chatting” or “hot hub” streamers who use the platform to perform sexually suggestive acts or engage in conversations with viewers about sexual topics. Many content creators sell access to nude or partially nude photos and videos on other sites.
They use Twitch as a funnel to help bring in an audience. While this content is not against Twitch’s terms of service, it has caused some user concerns. With so much access to this material, kids could start seeing it as acceptable or even commonplace.
This could lead to them thinking that certain sexual acts are okay to perform in real life, which could be extremely dangerous.
As more and more people turn to Twitch for entertainment, some streamers have started to include drinking in their broadcasts.
This often forms “drunk streaming,” where the streamer drinks alcohol while playing video games or talking to viewers. While drinking is not inherently wrong, it can be dangerous when done excessively.
As streaming is very community-orientated, regular viewers will often join in drinking while they watch. Additionally, kids who see adults drinking on Twitch could think that it’s something they should do. If normalized, this could lead to a rise in underage drinking.
Swatting is a dangerous prank where someone calls the police and reports a fake crime at their target’s home. This often results in a SWAT team being dispatched to the address, which can be extremely stressful and dangerous for the creator.
Unfortunately, Twitch has been plagued by swatting incidents in recent years. In some cases, the Streamers themselves have been the targets, while in others, viewers have called the police on other members of the streamer’s chat.
Either way, it’s a serious problem that risks innocent people. The key to preventing this is ensuring a child does not disclose personal information or even social media handles while interacting on the platform.
Hate speech is a severe problem on Twitch. The platform relies heavily on user-generated content, meaning anyone can say anything they want, often without consequence. This has led to several high-profile incidents where streamers have used hate speech against other users or groups.
While Twitch does not tolerate this behavior, it still happens regularly. If kids are exposed to hate speech while using Twitch, it could influence their views and make them more likely to use such language themselves.
How can parents keep their kids safe on Twitch?
Parents can do a few things to keep their kids safe on Twitch.
Monitor their child’s activity on the site and ensure they are not interacting with strangers over private messages.
Set up parental controls to limit the amount of time their child spends on the site.
Teach your child about online safety and explain the risks of meeting people online.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Twitch so popular among kids and teens?
Twitch has become very popular with kids and teens for a few reasons. First, Twitch offers a unique experience that allows users to interact with their favorite gamers and game developers.
Second, the site is free to use and does not require a subscription like some other gaming platforms. Finally, Twitch provides an easy way for kids and teens to connect with other gamers from around the world.
Perhaps the most significant risk the platform poses is kids can be lured into giving personal information to strangers on the site. From this, there is a risk that kids could be groomed for online sexual exploitation by predators who use the platform.
Is Twitch safe for a 12-year-old?
Twitch is generally not recommended for kids under the age of 13, as some content may not be appropriate for that age group.
However, it ultimately depends on the individual child and what their parents or guardians deem appropriate. If they are mature enough to handle potentially sensitive content, Twitch may be suitable, with some channels safer than others.
It is best to avoid Twitch altogether if they are likely disturbed or offended by specific content.
Is Twitch easy for kids to use?
Twitch has a Terms of Service that prohibits anyone under 13 from using the site. However, there is no age verification process, so it is easy for kids to lie about their age and create an account. This means that Twitch does not have a way to enforce its TOS.
While users can report content that they believe violates the TOS, it is ultimately up to Twitch to decide whether or not to take action.
Some parents may feel comfortable allowing their kids to use Twitch if they closely monitor their activity and only allow them to watch age-appropriate content. Others may decide that the risks are too great and choose to prohibit their kids from using the site altogether. Ultimately, the decision is up to each parent.
Parents should be aware of a few safety concerns before allowing their children to use Twitch. The site offers a unique experience that can be beneficial for kids and teens, but there are also potential risks that parents should be aware of.
Ultimately, whether or not to allow your child to use Twitch is up to you as a parent or guardian. If you decide to allow your child to use the site, we recommend you closely monitor their activity and use the parental controls at your disposal.
You should also discuss with your child appropriate online behavior and the dangers of giving personal information to strangers.