Around 9.3 million streamers regularly go live on the Twitch platform and play video games for their audiences. Among these spectators there are also many children and young people who follow the stars of the platform while playing “League Of Legends”, “Counter Strike” and the like.
For parents, it is often hard to understand what fascinates their children about it and what you have to pay attention to when you allow your kids to be on Twitch. BILD says what parents need to know about Twitch.
Twitch is active watching
“Young users particularly love the interactivity of video game streams,” says Iren Schulz, media coach at the “LOOK AT!” Initiative. Because on Twitch there is also a live chat in which viewers can exchange ideas, comment and ask questions to the streamers.
“Not just passive watching, but active exchange, getting involved and discussing – that appeals to many young people,” explains Schulz.
Parents should pay attention to the protection of minors
Twitch is officially approved for ages 13 and up. But: A real age check does not take place when users create an account. You don’t even need an account to watch streams on Twitch. However, you cannot then participate in the chat.
Important: Parents should pay attention to what the streamers show on their channels. Because while Twitch itself has an age limit, that doesn’t apply to the games that are played. The most popular games include “Counter Strike: Global Offensive” (from 16 years) and “GTA V” (from 18 years).
The most popular games on Twitch and their USK share
▶ ︎ “League Of Legends“: From 12 years
▶ ︎ “Fortnite“: From 12 years
▶ ︎ “Counter Strike: Global Offensive“: from 16 years
▶ ︎ “DOTA 2“: From 12 years
▶ ︎ “GTA V“: From 18 years
▶ ︎ “Hearthstone“: From 0 years
▶ ︎ “World Of Warcraft“: From 12 years
▶ ︎ “Minecraft“: from age 6
▶ ︎ “Overwatch“: from 16 years
▶ ︎ “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Victories“: from 16 years
▶ ︎ “Call Of Duty: Warzone“: From 18 years
In addition to the games shown, parents should also look at the streamers themselves: What they say during their broadcasts can be sexualized, glorify violence or politically problematic.
Hidden costs through bits
Creating an account on Twitch is initially free. However, there are two cost traps that parents should be aware of.
▶ ︎ For a monthly fee you can Subscribe to channels. For this, viewers receive, among other things, special emojis for the chat, with which they can stand out from non-subscribers. These subscriptions often come in several stages, so-called “tiers”: the more you pay monthly, the more advantages there are. Here it usually starts from 4.99 euros per month.
▶ ︎ For real money, viewers can buy so-called “bits” that they can donate during a stream. For example, 100 of these bits cost 1.47 euros. According to Twitch, one cent is passed on to the streamer for each bit. Users can easily buy these bits in a package for several hundred euros via PayPal. In this way, the donors often hope to get the streamer’s attention – for example in the form that the gamer names the name of his sponsor.
So parents should keep an eye out whether their kids are spending any money on their streaming idol’s attention!
The tip from media coach Iren Schulz: “When parents accompany their children into this world for a while, show interest in the media idols and let them explain what fascinates adolescents about them, understanding and trust arise.”