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Steam – The gaming platform

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11-17 years
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In a nutshell:

  • international platform and social network for online games, software products and movies
  • Usable via PC or as an app
  • released from 13 years
  • Access to non-child-friendly content possible and communication risks

What is Steam?

Steam is the largest international portal for online games, software products and movies. On the platform you can play and buy games. Gamers can connect with others around the world and play together. For this, you need to install Steam and sign up for free. This works with PC, Mac and Linux. Steam is also available as an app. The website serves as a forum for exchanging ideas about gaming and sharing fan content such as pictures and videos. Players can also chat with each other directly within the games. In the store you can buy games, but also within the games there are purchase options.

What particularly fascinates young people about the offer?

You will find countless games that can be free or paid. The platform offers a wide variety of games and genres. Young people particularly enjoy playing together with other players as a team. They also enjoy talking with others about their favorite games.

What is problematic about the offer?

Due to the great variety on the platform, there are also games that are not suitable for children or can even be problematic. For some games, the age is requested in advance, but it is not checked. The community includes players and content from all over the world, so young people can easily get in touch with strangers. So-called trolls in particular can be a risk, because they deliberately provoke others, insult them and spread false news. Also, the posts, pictures or videos in the forum or chat may not be suitable for children.

What does the provider think?

According to the provider, children can use the platform from the age of 13. However, there is no verification of age. Spam, advertising and problematic content can be reported. For families, a family view is offered where parents can make precise settings and restrictions. Recently, there was a change in favor of the users’ privacy: By default, only online friends can see which games you own, how long you play, and which games are on your purchase wish list. Previously, the data of many users was publicly accessible, because only a few had set their profile to private.

What should parents pay attention to?

Due to the large number of games and social media content, use is only recommended for older teenagers. If younger people want to use Steam, this should be well accompanied and common rules should be agreed upon. We recommend parents to use the family view. This is secured with a PIN. In a library, individual games can be defined and released for the children. Other features such as the community or the store must also be consciously allowed by the parents. The Player’s Guide explains in this tutorial how you should proceed.

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