Twitch Guide for Parents & Educators

, you're logged in!
October 19, 2022

Become a member or log in to view this course

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Unlock this lesson to learn what you can do to keep kids safe on Twitch

This Twitch guide will help parents learn: 

  • Why Twitch is so popular with students
  • Why parents should care about Twitch and the potential dangers
  • Tips to keep student safe while using Twitch

Learn why parents and educators should care about Twitch

Log in or join the VIP membership today to view all SmartSocial.com resources about Twitch!

Become a member or log in to view this course

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
This app is not safe for students to use unsupervised, but a Green Zone app can serve a positive purpose to help a student to navigate social media and someday build an online brand. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Green Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Gray Zone apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages, and strangers can use this to chat with students. Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Gray Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone.
Red Zone apps often have lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested on each of these apps or move your kids to a safer zone. All apps require parental supervision, these apps more than others. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Red Zone or view our list of 100+ Apps to find a safer app with your student.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ app reviews at SmartSocial.com

This trend is categorized as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge.
Viral challenges encourage students to do dangerous things to garner likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges can be found across several social networks and may encourage students to perform dangerous activities. SmartSocial.com keeps parents updated on these social media challenges before an incident may occur in your community.

Table of Contents

Twitch is a popular live streaming platform that many students are using to watch live videos of their favorite streamers, but many parents wonder if it is safe for students to use.  Live streaming allows a creator to broadcast video in real-time while they play a video game, watch a tv show, host a show from their home while they talk to the audience or a guest, and more.

In this guide you are going to learn:

1) What is Twitch, why students use it, and what they are seeing?

2) What are the dangers?

3) How can parents help their students use the site safely?

Parent & educator training video

Educators and parents: Guide your students' reflection and discussion with this student worksheet.

(Log in to your Google account and select File-->Make a Copy)

(This student-friendly video can be shown in the classroom or at home)

(Click on the three lines or a blue dot in video progress bar to skip to a chapter)

  1. What is Twitch?
  2. Where is Twitch available?
  3. Why do students want to use Twitch?
  4. What are the dangers?
  5. Why should parents care?
  6. What can parents do?
  7. Important privacy settings
  8. Moderation settings for streamers

What is Twitch?

  • Twitch is a live streaming video platform with more than 140 million active monthly viewers (Source: Earthweb)
  • The platform is predominantly used to live stream gamers while they are playing video games with live commentary and allows viewers to talk with each other through live chat and audio 
  • A popular streamer can earn money from their Twitch channel by gaining subscribers and donations from other users
  • Some popular video formats are eSports tournaments, personal streams of live gameplay on popular video games, gaming-related talk shows, and non gaming topics like music, creative, and IRL (in real life)
  • ~Music content can be from radio shows, music production activities, or live music shows
  • ~Creative content showcases the process of completing an artistic or creative piece of work
  • ~IRL (in real life) content is for any video that doesn’t fit into the other main categories such as talk shows & podcasts, politics, ASMR, pools, hot tubs, and beaches, travel & outdoors, Science and technology, Fitness & health, Just chatting, etc. 
  • Viewers can choose to be invisible while they watch live streams
  • Videos can be watched live or watched via replay after the live broadcast
  • “Games are restricted from broadcast if the game violates our Community Guidelines as it applies to hate speech, sex, nudity, gratuitous gore, extreme violence or if the official ESRB rating is Adults Only. Game reviews are conducted following reports from the community. If the game is unrated by the ESRB and a wholly-comparable rated title cannot be found, the moderation team determines whether the game violates our Community Guidelines. Titles may be restricted if they are sufficiently extreme by a single element of the game (e.g. sexual content, violence, intent) or several elements in aggregate violate our policies.” (Source: Twitch)
“Twitch is where millions of people come together live every day to chat, interact, and make their own entertainment together.” - Twitch Marketing

What is Twitch rated?

Apple App Rating: 17+

Google Play Rating: T (Teen)

Also available on: Desktop, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, Xbox, PlayStation, iOS, and Android devices

Operated by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc.

Based in San Francisco, CA

Terms of Service

Privacy Policy

  • Users must be 13 years or older to sign up for Twitch but there is no age verification so younger users can still access the site

Examples of Twitch dangers in the news

child predators use twitch to systematically track kids livestreaming the gamin platform's design enables people to find and exploit kids in real-time
...[T]he behavior exhibited by many members of this group follows typical grooming techniques. Some use the same tactics on multiple streams, even seconds later. They can start out by asking innocuous questions about a child’s favorite color and work their way to demands for live sexual acts. - Bloomberg
child predators mine twitch to prey on kids
A researcher... found hundreds of seemingly predatory accounts run by adults that mostly followed children or young teenagers. - Wired

Why do students want to be on Twitch?

  • Students want to use Twitch to watch videos of their favorite video games being played and to gain tips and tricks to use when playing the games themselves
  • They also like to share what they are doing whether it’s in video games, their own hobbies or activities or share their opinions with the world
  • Many students use Twitch to connect with other gamers or fans in the gaming community and join discussions in real-time
  • Many users like to use the site to discover new games 
  • With such a wide variety of channels to search from, students may find it fun to discover and connect with new streamers

Why should parents & educators care?

  • Twitch is one of the leading live streaming video services for video gaming in the US and is very popular with students. 41% of all users on Twitch are under the age of 24 (Source: Backlinko)
  • The live chats are a main feature of the platform which can be dangerous for tweens and teens with the possibility of online predators and mature content
  • There are zero parental controls built into Twitch and because of the nature of live streaming, it is very easy for students to access inappropriate content, even on accident
  • There are some privacy and security settings that can help reduce contact with potential online predators, but they are not foolproof and can easily be changed by the student (see how to find those settings below)
  • Graphic video games, mature language, and adult live streams are very prevalent on the site, despite Twitch's Community Guidelines that say “Nudity and sexually explicit content or activities, such as pornography, sexual acts or intercourse, and sexual services, are prohibited” (Source: Twitch Community Guidelines)
  • Twitch users can receive direct messages from other users called “whispers”
  • Users are constantly being encouraged to make purchases on Twitch, so costs can add up if parents aren’t monitoring or setting guidelines
  • Popular streamers can make money from other users for the videos they create

What can parents & educators do?

  • Sign up for a Twitch account and get familiar with the site to decide if you think it is appropriate for your student
  • Talk to your student and ask them if they have an account or if their friends use the platform
  • If you decide Twitch is safe for your student, be on the platform with them several times a week to monitor their activity
  • Create a Smartphone and Social Media Agreement WITH your student to set screen time guidelines and expectations that meet your family’s rules
  • Configure their account settings to limit who they can talk to and block private messages from strangers (See steps and screenshots to do this below)
  • Remind your students to never share personal information (like their full name, address, or passwords) with anyone on Twitch or online
  • Know who their favorite streamers are and what games your students like and watch some of those videos with them to determine if they are safe for your family
  • Create a supportive environment by telling your students that they can always come to you (or a trusted adult) if they come across content that makes them uncomfortable on Twitch
  • Consider setting up screen time limits and restrictions through parental controls with Apple Screen Time or Android's Digital Wellbeing

Privacy/setting recommendations for Twitch

How to block private messages

  • Tap on the icon in the upper right hand corner
  • Tap “Settings”
  • Tap “Security and Privacy”
  • Scroll down to “Privacy”
  • Turn on “Block Whispers from Strangers”

How to turn off all Notifications

  • From the “Settings” menu, go to “Security and Privacy”
  • Scroll down and tap “On Twitch”
  • Turn off “All notifications on Twitch”
  • Tap “By Email”
  • Turn off “All Emails”
  • Tap “On Mobile”
  • Turn off “All push notifications”

How to enable chat filters as a viewer

  • Users can select filters to block in chat across all channels 
  • While watching a live stream tap on the gear icon next to the “Chat” button
  • Turn on “Enable filtering in chat”
  • Scroll down and turn on all of the filters

How to report a Streamer

  • Twitch users have the ability to report a streamer due to violence, bullying, self-harm, nudity, scams, terrorism, and more
  • While watching a live stream tap on the three dots below the video feed
  • Tap “Report Live Stream” or “Report Something Else”
  • Check why you are submitting the report

How to report/block a user

  • Twitch allows users to report or block other users within the chat window
  • While watching a live stream, in the chat window click on the user name you want to report/block
  • Tap on the three dots
  • Tap “Block” or “Report”

How to find moderation settings for streamers

  • If students may want to stream videos on Twitch turn on AutoMod to have potentially inappropriate or harmful messages detected and held to be reviewed by a moderator
  • From the “Creator Dashboard”, tap “Settings”
  • Tap “Moderation”
  • Tap “AutoMod Rulesets”
  • Tap “Turn on AutoMod”
  • Select which level by sliding the slider next to “Your AutoMod Setting”
  • ~Level 1 is A Little Moderation - Level 4 is A Lot of Moderation
  • Tap “Save”

How to find chat settings for streamers

  • Twitch allows streamers to set who is allowed to chat on their own channel
  • From the “Creator Dashboard”, tap “Settings”
  • Tap “Moderation”
  • Scroll down to “Channel Privileges”
  • Under “Email Verification”, turn on “All chatters” to require that all chatters must have a verified email address
  • Under “Phone Verification” turn on “All chatters” to require that all chatters must have a verified phone number

Key terms/slang about Twitch

  • Bits - Virtual goods that you can buy with real money and give to streamers to show support or gain attention in chats
  • Subscriptions - Twitch users can spend money to subscribe to a channel 
  • TwitchCon - A convention for the Twitch community with a focus on the culture of live streaming and video gaming
  • Twitch Prime - Is Prime Gaming through Amazon which is a premium gaming experience that is included with Amazon Prime and Prime Video memberships
  • Whisper - A direct message within Twitch

Conclusion

No matter how much you configure your student’s Twitch security settings, there is no way to know if the content is safe for your student unless you become familiar with the platform and review their favorite streamers or videos. However, we recommend students focus on apps that can have a positive impact on their digital footprint. 

More resources for parents, students, & educators

Create a smartphone and social media agreement for your family with the SmartSocial template

To learn about Discord and other chat apps, read our Discord Safety Guide for Parents, Educators, & Students

Learn more about YouTube in Navigating YouTube: (A Course for Parents, Educators, & Students)


, can you give us some feedback about this lesson?

Logged in and still not seeing content? This course may not be part of your membership plan. Click here to join.

Share Your Thoughts With Our Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

We Release VIP Content Each Month:

Some content is free, others require a VIP membership

Become a Very Informed Parent (VIP) to get our social media suggestions in your email every Tuesday & Thursday.
Dotted arrow to right
Learn about our
"Very Informed Parent" 
VIP Program
Right arrow
Josh Ochs headshot Round
Schools & Districts: Partner with us to protect your community online

Our remote presentations (and website) teaches over a million students each year how to shine online. We teach students how their accounts can be used to create a portfolio of positive accomplishments that impress colleges and employers.

Partner with SmartSocial.com
Right arrow
SmartSocial podcast logo
Join Our Smart Social Podcast each week on iTunes

With over 240 episodes, Josh Ochs interviews psychologists, therapists, counselors, teachers, and parents while showing you how to navigate social media to someday shine online.

Listen on:

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
Youtube
Spotify

Here are some of the latest resources at SmartSocial.com:

Twitch Guide for Parents & Educators

Fill out this form to receive free tips each week

Note: Many of our 400+ resources now require a low-cost membership to help us deliver great research and expert safety guides. Become a member today, login here, or have your district request a partnership to make these resources free for your community.