What is Kick streaming? What parents need to know

The Kick streaming logo in front of an image of the website.

The Kick streaming platform launched in 2022. It continues to increase in popularity, especially for creators looking for fewer restrictions.

Learn about the platform, its risks and what you can do to protect teens.

What is Kick streaming?

Kick.com is a streaming platform that shares similarities with Twitch and YouTube Live. Just like other live streaming services, users can broadcast content to others in real-time. Users can also interact with creators through chat and other features.

An investigation into Kick by VoiceBox uncovered a range of issues. They included sexual harassment, violent language, hate and gambling endorsements among other things.

What is the minimum age requirement for Kick?

According to Kick’s Terms of Service, users must be at least 13 years old to use Kick (16 in the EU). Anyone under 18 must also have parent permission to use the platform.

There are no separate age requirements for streaming. However, the Community Guidelines state that streamed content cannot feature minors who are not in “the immediate presence of a parent or legal guardian.” As such, under-18s do not have permission to stream themselves without an adult present.

The reporting process

If you or your child sees content that goes against the Community Guidelines or Terms of Service, you should report it. You can report content and channels as well as users in chat.

Creators on Kick can report users. However, they have little control over their live streams. This is because Kick encourages an environment where users can “freely express themselves while respecting others.”

VoiceBox notes that Kick did not add the reporting function until a year after launch. The Community Guidelines also suggest a soft approach to enforcing rules.

How many people use Kick.com?

Since its launch in 2022, Kick.com’s usage has increased quickly. From January to April 2023, for example, viewership numbers increased by 404%.

One reason for this increase in traffic might relate to the amount streamers can make. While Twitch lets creators keep 50% of their profit, and YouTube lets creators keep 70%, Kick lets creators keep 95% of their earnings. As such, some creators on other platforms moved over to Kick, and so did their viewers.

Kick.com also believes in avoiding “knee-jerk reactions often associated with ‘cancel culture’.” While they affirm that this doesn’t mean creators can use “free speech” as “shield for hate speech,” this less strict approach might appeal to some.

Additionally, VoiceBox’s investigation into Kick’s streaming service found that some creators use openly hateful language without consequence. Some streamers also share adult-only content, they said, without labelling the content as such.

VoiceBox concludes that Kick is a natural result of popular platforms becoming more strict with their rules. Those who wish to share controversial material that will get them banned on Twitch or YouTube might see Kick as a preferred alternative.

Risks on Kick.com to watch out for

While Kick.com only has an age minimum of 13 in the United Kingdom, some of the content is not appropriate for under-18s. Additionally, the platform is still fairly new, which means it might lack robust safety features. In fact, there on-platform reporting function only came into play a year after launch.

If your child uses or wants to use Kick’s streaming service, you should know about the following risks.

Online gambling

The Kick streaming platform has close links with a popular gambling site. However, the gambling site does not own Kick. Instead, the owner of Kick also founded the gambling site. Some suggest that Kick is just another way to direct users towards the gambling site.

On the Kick.com website, gambling is a clear focus. For instance, the number one category under ‘Top Live Categories’ is ‘Slots & Casino’. In this section, creators must mark all content as for over-18s.

Under this category, creators live stream themselves engaging in gambling. While users will get a notification to say the content is for over-18s, there are no real restrictions. In fact, you can already see the chat before clicking ‘Start watching’.

Moreover, popular creators often show large wins, which might influence minors to try their hand at these same games.

Inappropriate content

VoiceBox said they found streams of creators video-chatting with girls in their underwear. Other streams included sexual gestures, movements and noises. Some live streams also feature sexually suggestive material without an 18+ warning. Other streams feature random chats on platforms similar to the now-closed Omegle.

This content is often:

  • easily accessible;
  • not always properly labelled; and
  • available to all users.

As such, children might stumble across adult content. More popular platforms have stricter rules, which reduces the likelihood of them coming across such content. However, this doesn’t mean the risk is 0%, so regular conversations and parental controls are vital.

Hate speech and hateful behaviours

Kick’s Community Guidelines warn against violence and hate speech on the platform. However, this is not always enforced. In fact, the same guidelines highlight that “context is critical in determining the occurrence of hate-speech.” As such, the platform might allow certain hate speech in the right context, though it’s unclear what that is.

VoiceBox’s investigation highlighted misogynistic and anti-LGBTQ+ language among popular creators and their followers. There were also cases of racist language as well as references to rape and suicide.

Learn more about hate in online spaces.

While this kind of behaviour is not only on Kick.com, it does seem to be more widespread than some similar platforms.

That being said, they recognise they are a newer platform. Therefore, they might introduce changes to counteract dangerous content down the line.

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How to protect children and teens

If your child is interested in using Kick (or have already used it), there are things you can do to keep them safe.

Have an open conversation

Talk to them about their reasons for wanting to use Kick. Are they interested in streaming or viewing? What does it have that Twitch or YouTube Live don't that appeals to them? For those wishing to stream content, another platform might be a better option until they reach 18.

Update parental controls

If you don't want your child accessing Kick, you might need to update your parental controls. This is especially true if you've blocked specific sites. You can add Kick.com to your blocked list on broadband and mobile as well as parental control apps and web browsers. However, it's important to talk about doing this with your child as well.

Set clear rules and boundaries

If you do let your child use Kick, set clear guidelines. Remember that the Terms of Service say under-18s cannot feature in streams without a parent or legal guardian. If your child is watching streams, you might want to set usage of the platform in common areas only such as the kitchen. You might also want to watch streams together instead.

Suggest alternatives

If your child wishes to stream content, consider letting them create videos that aren't live streamed. This will help them to get familiar with streaming tools without misusing live streams. Additionally, consider different platforms that are more established like Twitch and YouTube to stream instead.

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