Lately on the blog we’ve been covering more on the topic of gaming.
Our recent blog took a look at popular game, Fortnite Battle Royale and we also looked at Roblox and reviewed how well popular parental controls work.
We’ve now had a number of parents reach out regarding Twitch.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is a live video game app and website, primarily used to stream live gaming play. Users watch playbacks of games being played by other people. You can also live-stream your own games (while playing in real time), and chat to other gamers. Users can follow channels and games they want to keep track of. Streaming via Twitch has allowed some gamers to generate an income through donations and subscriptions to channels.
One such Gamer is Tyler Blevins, AKA Ninja, a professional gamer who reportedly earns $500,000 a month playing games like Fortnite. Tyler has 2.11 million followers on Twitter and another 11.5million subscribers on YouTube.
On Twitch each stream contains a public chat in which users can communicate with each other, view profiles of each other, send private messages known as whispers and gift subscriptions.
Twitch is mostly used to watch live streams of games being played. Live game streams offer live chat, donation options, and the ability to subscribe or follow other gamers. They also have rules for the chat for example ‘no spam, no porn or anything disturbing’ . Twitch also offers the option of allowing users to stream directly from gaming consoles such as Xbox and Playstation.
Image Credit: Twitch
Creating an account on Twitch
It’s pretty straightforward to sign up and create an account with Twitch. You will need to join the live conversations and use most of the other features on the site. When signing up users are asked for the following:
• eMail Address
Once you have your account set up and email address verified you can login to Twitch. The first thing you will see will be the Twitch dashboard. You’ll have to pick 3 channels initially that you’d like to watch. The channels which you follow will appear in the centre of the screen and on the left hand side you will have ‘Featured Channels’.
At the top right of the dashboard page is where users can access settings relating to their account:
• Toggle Online or Invisible
• Share my activity (this relates to Share what you’re watching, playing, or streaming with your friends).
• Friends (manage friends and friend requests on Twitch).
• Payments (this relates to any subscriptions).
Security & Privacy Settings on Twitch
Twitch does give users some control over security and privacy when using the platform. Within the settings tab within the security and privacy users have the options to:
• Change Password
• Two-Factor Authentication (Always recommended and adds a second layer of security to the account)
• Block Whispers from Strangers (Whispers ARE private messages)
• Block Receiving Gifts on Channels you don’t follow.
So what do Parents need to be aware of?
Twitch and gaming seem to go hand in hand. It’s a very popular gaming social network – below are some things to think about and keep in mind relating to Twitch:
• Twitch doesn’t offer Parental controls
• Many of the games which are being streamed are not suitable for Under 18s
• Inappropriate and rude language are common throughout many of the streams
• Twitch is driven by adverts. However these can be removed by upgrading the account or connecting to Amazon Prime (£7.99 p/mth, although membership is included if you are already an Amazon Prime customer)
• Reporting users can be difficult as you need to actually find how to do this. In order to report a user, you need to click on their profile then click on the 3 dots. You will then see the option to report.
• Twitch Purchases – Users also have an option of buying ‘Bits’ which allow gamers to cheer on their favourite streamer. These rate in price from 100 bits costing $1.68 right up to 25,000 bits costing $369.60
• Parents should set boundaries and guidelines for children using Twitch. Agree the allocated time in which it can be accessed and agree rules beforehand. Perhaps even make up a Twitch contract.
• Encourage safe and responsible use. Have the conversation about live streaming and some of the dangers such as sharing personal information or chatting with strangers.
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