Twitch

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Twitch Website Poster Image
Popular gaming site hosts many videos, some iffy content.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Positive Messages

The site says its mission is to provide a positive, friendly experience for users; a number of streamers also request that users remain positive when commenting on their content. But there's no guarantee that everyone will.

Violence

Things generally don't get too gory/bloody in all channels, but some game characters brandish guns and knives and engage in combat. Content varies from channel to channel, so users will have to pay attention to the games/videos being streamed on a channel basis.

Sex

According to Twitch's community guidelines, sexually explicit content isn't allowed, and that seems to be pretty strictly enforced. Some vloggers do show cleavage, and a few segment names feature words like "penis," but if nudity or extremely suggestive material exists, it isn't easily found.

Language

Content broadcasters are supposed to enable a setting if they plan to share mature content, but some don't seem to view swearing that way; kids may hear hosts say "f--k" or other swear words in conversation. If kids set up a channel, they can use an AutoMod option to replace certain words in their chat feed with asterisks and hold questionable messages for review.

Consumerism

Users are encouraged to buy Bits through Amazon/PayPal to support streamers. They can also pay to subscribe to certain user-sponsored channels for $4.99-24.99 a month; some channels also ask for donations. A link leads to an Amazon store with clothes and other site merchandise. Users are encouraged to sign up for Amazon's Prime service, products may be listed on pages, and ads sometimes play before channel content.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some channels/games mention marijuana, drinking.

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Twitch is an online streaming site that covers both gaming and non-gaming content. It has many settings that can help restrict kids' contact with other users, such as options that block private chat-room invites. The site also makes a concerted effort to keep sexual content from being shared, putting temporary or permanent bans on users who break these rules. But even with these standards, kids may encounter iffy stuff. Language is often a free-for-all during live feeds, with "f--k" and other swear words frequently used, even though channel streamers are supposed to indicate whether they'll use mature language during a stream. Many users and streamers make drug and alcohol references during broadcasts, too. Plus, a number of games feature a significant amount of shooting and violence, so it's up to viewers to pay attention to the games being streamed and the kinds of games a streamer likes to play to avoid certain kinds of content. There's also a fair amount of product promotion on the site for Amazon Prime, channel subscriptions, and other items, and kids will periodically see ads before and during streams. Read the privacy policy on the website to find out about the information that's collected and shared.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13 year old Written byAdamJen12 September 9, 2018

Twitch is good... Usually...

Twitch offers a very open service to gaming streamers allowing them to borderline run their own little community and do the thing they love to do at the same ti... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 29, 2018

13 and up required for streaming access.

If you’re a parent that’s gonna allow a child 12 and under to stream, don’t. The guidelines say that a user must be 13 and up to start streaming.
Kid, 10 years old August 15, 2018

It sounds like an appropriate place, but too much cussing.

Gaming sounds appropriate to watch, right? Not on twitch. I watch some videos here, stopped soon after. Cussing is said often.

What's it about?

TWITCH bills itself as a social video service where a community of millions discusses Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC games. It also features videos and channel content based on hobbies and other topics. Users share live gameplay and other video (with audio) as others chime in via a chat feed; you can also choose to be invisible and just observe or cheer streamers on by buying and using Bits, a Twitch form of currency that can be used to support a user's favorite broadcasters. The site, which was launched in 2011, is now owned by Amazon, so promotion of Amazon Prime subscriptions sometimes provides benefits for Twitch users as well.

Is it any good?

The gaming-related content is the high point of this streaming-friendly site, which has varied content, but it can hard to tell whether a broadcast is safe for kids or is for adults only. Gaming fans on Twitch will find detailed, fast-paced discussions and be able to view game-playing experiences. Fewer channels seem to touch on other subjects, such as drawing and programming; on some, conversations feel like they move much slower than the gaming talk, with less dynamic visuals. But with channels and conversations in a number of languages, content scheduled to stream at different times around the clock, and videos playing automatically, it doesn't take much poking around to find something else to watch.

In addition to viewing cooking demonstrations and other content, kids can, without much effort, find other people to geek out about their favorite game with. But the community aspect is also the site's biggest concern. Dropping in on someone's uncensored conversation can expose kids to swearing and sexual references; they may also come across vloggers with ample cleavage and others who hit viewers up for financial contributions. Some mention drinking and other vices, and it's not uncommon for site users to praise the violence that's shown in games. Twitch has included some features to help protect users' privacy, such as the ability to be invisible when observing a chat conversation, but with the amount of streams available to watch and profile settings and functions to review, the privacy protections can be easy to overlook. Kids might not realize, for example, that their activity could be shared with other users unless they unclick that option. Also, selecting appropriate privacy and content settings will mean a lot of time spent digging through the site's detailed help area to tailor the experience to your needs. Twitch can be an entertaining online experience, as long as you're aware that some of that fun could also come with a hefty dose of content for mature viewers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about online privacy. What kinds of things should you never say online, especially if it's being streamed to a worldwide audience?

  • Talk about violence in video games. Should streaming services have explicit age controls to regulate who can watch games with mature content? Should streams be prevented from changing from non-violent to violent games in mid-broadcast?

  • Discuss marketing to kids. Even though Amazon owns Twitch, should it be allowed to heavily promote its services and ads to users that only want to watch games? Would you pay extra if it meant not having to be subjected to constant promotion about Amazon?

Website details

  • Genre: Gaming
  • Pricing structure: Paid, Free

For kids who love videos

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