A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that YouTube Gaming is a gaming-focused site featuring lots of game highlights, Let's Play videos, live streams, and more. Many of the videos showcase mature games, so there's loads of violence, sexual content, drug use, and language shown or featured across most of the site. Players can participate in unmoderated chats, which can expose them to inappropriate content, although they can't email or chat with other users outside of group settings. Kids can sign in with the same Google account they use to access YouTube's main video site. (YouTube is a Google company.) If a kid's full name is listed on her Google account, other users will be able to see it.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
YOUTUBE GAMING, launched in August 2015, features more than 25,000 games, each housed on its own page with related videos along with past and upcoming live streams. Users can add a game to their collections to easily check what new items have been posted; channel subscribers get notifications as soon as a live stream starts. The site also provides recommendations based on games and channels you choose.
Is it any good?
The site's recent launch is likely good news for gamers; they can use it to get updates and information about thousands of games. The content is well organized; each game gets its own dedicated page. The site makes it easy for users to follow certain games to find out about release dates and other news, and they can share their thoughts on their favorite titles with other fans. But in many cases, those fans will be adults. YouTube Gaming wasn't designed with kids in mind; users are asked, for example, to sign in to confirm their ages for some -- but not all -- game-sex-scene compilation videos. They also can easily access gory movie-like game clips that showcase violence and murder.
Pages do exist for kid-friendly bike racing and other games, but you have to search for them; they aren't the options that tend to appear on the home page. It's all too easy for kids to find more adult content, even if grown-ups create their profiles for them and preselect games. As a result, parents may have some understandable concerns about kids spending too much time on the site. Having young kids play age-appropriate games on their gaming systems, instead of reading and talking about them on YouTube Gaming, would likely be a safer approach.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the differences between educational games, other games, and videos. Why is one type more beneficial? How can kids tell the difference between a site with games that offer some learning potential and games that are meant for adults?
Users can watch live feeds on the site and comment on what they're seeing. What kinds of things should kids never say when interacting with others online?
Users can't directly contact each other through the site, but your full name will be displayed if it's listed on your Google account. Why might that be a safety risk? How can you create an online identity that protects your real one?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.