Do you know Let’s Plays? These are videos in which people play games, for example on YouTube show. The Twitch.tv platform, which is very popular with children and young people, works in the same way in principle, except that here you can watch live how others play. For young gamers, the portal is a must.
Twitch is the largest livestreaming portal for streaming and watching games. The site is similar in principle to other video portals. Users can visit channels or the stream of a particular digital game. In doing so, they do not have to register.
Only registered users can broadcast the game they are playing live to an audience. They usually use webcam and microphone to comment on their own game at the same time. The chat function allows players and viewers to communicate with each other in real time. A game is often watched by more than 10,000 people. Those who have enough viewers can place advertisements. The proceeds from this will be split between Twitch and the streaming gamer. Individual channels can also be subscribed to for a fee, and there is an option to donate money to a gamer during the livestream.
The games most frequently shown on Twitch are also otherwise very popular, e.g. Fortnite , Leagues of Legend , Counterstrike and Minecraft . eSports events are also broadcast on Twitch. Most of the content on Twitch is from users, but there is also professionally produced material. Besides the main theme of games, other content is also shown on Twitch. There are streams for programming, drawing, crafting and many other everyday things.
On Twitch, young people can share their computer gaming hobby with others and experience it live from a different perspective. They can interact directly with their gaming idols and improve their skills in a particular game. For gamers it is interesting, because they can show their skills and also earn money.
Those who have access to the Internet can also use Twitch, since no registration is required to watch. Therefore, children and teenagers can watch streaming of games that are not yet suitable for them according to the age restriction. According to the terms and conditions, the offer can only be used from the age of 13 and then only with parental supervision. However, this becomes relevant at most when registering for your own streams or interacting with gamers. There is no check to see if the age entered during registration is correct.
Your child may encounter violent, scary, and sexualized content. For this reason, the Jugendschutz has classified the platform as unsuitable for children and young people.
Advertising on Twitch is difficult to detect. This is also due to the fact that more and more gamers are becoming influencers. Young users often do not recognize personal game recommendations as advertising.
The integrated donation function should also be viewed critically. When viewers transfer money to their favorite players during the livestream, the gamer comments on it at the same time. This kind of personal feedback can tempt younger users in particular to donate money using their parents’ PayPal account details.
Since users who only watch livestreams do not have to register, there is a risk, especially among young streamers, that (strange) adults will make contact and that cybergrooming will occur.
As soon as a video is clicked in which a game with age restriction is played, there is a notice. However, this can be easily clicked away.
Because of the risks mentioned, you should accompany your child when he or she uses the service, or at least talk to him or her about it regularly. Talk to him about the platform and look at it together. Research the age ratings for each game and stick to them. Also, make your child aware that as a streamer, they should not post personal information as Twitch can share it. Use the option in the settings to disable communication with strangers.