Twitch – A parent’s guide to help children use it safely

Twitch logo on mobile phone

Learn how to use Twitch safely. You will find all you need to know about the popular live streaming platform used by gamers and gaming enthusiasts.

What is Twitch?

Founded in 2011, Twitch is a live streaming platform where millions of users can watch live streams or pre-recorded video gameplay. Other available channels users can watch include music, sports, esports, and food.

Geared towards the gaming community, it also offers gaming news, product announcements, events, and a community of fans who really love games. Additionally, Twitch broadcasts lucrative esports tournaments, which offer large sums of prize money to professional players.

Twitch is available on many platforms, (computer, gaming console, and tablets, mobile devices via a desktop browser and the app) but the official website is www.twitch.tv.

What’s needed to use Twitch?

  • An internet-enabled device (computer, laptop, TV, phone, or tablet)
  • A Twitch account
  • Be at least 13 years old to use the platform (although there is no age verification on sign-up)

How Twitch works

A user can set up a Twitch account to watch their favourite streaming channels or can set up their own channel.

As a viewer, you can – watch live gameplay or archived videos by browsing various categories. A Twitch broadcast or stream often includes a video with an audio commentary from the player and the video of the game itself.

You will also see a live chat option where at times the streamer can respond, but you can still talk to others including sending private messages. Sometimes the streamers respond to the chats out loud in the video.

To gain the full experience (including joining in live chat) you will need to sign up for the free membership where you will get your own user page (called a channel). Viewers can either follow their favourite streamer for free or subscribe to their channel for a fee – from $4.99 a month.

As a streamer you can – create a channel and broadcast live gameplay, esports, music, or IRL (in real life) content. IRL is designed for users to share glimpses into their day-to-day life.
Streamers can also earn money from the platform.

Good to know:
Although an account is not required to use the desktop version (like YouTube and TikTok platforms), by creating a free account, a user can get full access to the features of the platform.

Why is Twitch so popular?

  • The gaming community – The gaming community on Twitch is the go-to place for gamers and gaming enthusiasts. The streaming of gameplay offers live commentary which creates a sense of belonging among the gamers. Also, a lot of young people use Twitch not only to watch specific gamers but because they like the actual gamer; many popular music artists have turned to Twitch to make money during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Lucrative money earner – Most streamers broadcast as a hobby, but some have made successful careers from it. Because Twitch was acquired by Amazon in 2014, it is integrated with Amazon Prime and allows streamers to make money by offering in-stream links through which viewers can purchase the games being played. Other ways streamers can earn money is through ads, subscriptions, and donations.
  • Reviews of popular games – The biggest games usually streamed on Twitch are popular ones such as League of Legends, Fortnite, and Minecraft. Some streamers may get early access to a new game and therefore viewers may flock to Twitch to get a look in.

What is the age rating?

According to Twitch, the minimum age rating is 13 years and a user between 13 and 18 years old should use the platform with an adult, according to the site’s terms of service.

Any under 13s found to have an account will be terminated. The Apple App Store has a rating of 17+ and the Google Play Store has a ‘Teen’ rating.

What are the privacy/security settings on Twitch?

Check out our Twitch parental controls guide where we show you can block or report a user, disable gifts, and more. In addition, you can also use the settings on your mobile device or computer to further limit interactions and location-based information.

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