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Updated: January 9, 2024

What is Twitch?

Description: Twitch is one of the most popular live-streaming services. Users can watch their favorite streamers play video games, talk about politics, commentate on sports, host unique events, and be exposed to a large portion of LIVE content.

Category: Photo & Video

App Store rating: (Our opinion is that this app should be rated 17+)

  • Apple: 12+ (Infrequent/Mild Profanity, Crude Humor, Cartoon or Fantasy Violence, Realistic Violence, Horror/Fear Themes, Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References, Simulated Gambling, Contests, and  Frequent/Intense Mature/Suggestive Themes)
  • Google Play: Teen

To get a glimpse of what Twitch is like, check out the 2023 Streamer Awards (like the Oscars, but for streamers)

What do Parents Need to Know about Twitch?

Twitch briefly allowed nudity. On December 13, 2023, Twitch announced an update for sexual content and content classification labels. Essentially, this update allowed streamers to show “fictional” nudity for the sake of creative freedom and the growing artist communities on Twitch. While there might have been creators with true artistic intentions, this policy change was massively abused, specifically by the use of AI. But even without AI, Twitch simply went too far, deciding that popular, sexual dances were allowed without a content warning label. After two days, Twitch reversed their decision in another Sexual Content Policy Update on December 15:

“Upon reflection, we have decided that we went too far with this change. Digital depictions of nudity present a unique challenge–AI can be used to create realistic images, and it can be hard to distinguish between digital art and photography.

So, effective today, we are rolling back the artistic nudity changes. Moving forward, depictions of real or fictional nudity won’t be allowed on Twitch, regardless of the medium.”

Twitch is a very mature platform, whose policies are constantly changing. At any given time, they could allow specific types of nudity again, or allow extremely suggestive content to be listed without proper content labels. Twitch is like the Wild West of live-streaming. One minute, there are clear rules. The next, those rules have changed completely. And a few days later, the changes are reversed. Please be careful, because of their ability to easily change policies and willingness to do so – Twitch will always be a risky online environment.

Twitch Attire Policy. After the artistic nudity debacle, the demand for sexual content on Twitch was very high. So, Twitch streamers sought to supply that demand by using specific tactics to appear as if they were naked on stream. Either with censorship bars covering parts of their body, blurring effects, or simply showing most of the body but not technically breaking any policies. Sex sells and the streamers know it. They’re pushing boundaries to get views, which = $$. To combat this, Twitch changed its policy on attire. Something they should have done a long time ago. You can read this policy change here: An Update to Our Attire Policy

Twitch is massively popular. There is a whole culture dedicated to online streamers, that reaches far past the gaming community. Twitch is owned by Amazon and boasts over 140 million viewers monthly. According to Twitch Tracker, there are around 2.4 million viewers on average, at any given moment.

Twitch can be a real time-waster. And in the fall, they are going to be adding Short-form videos and Stories, similar to TikTok or YouTube Shorts. This will greatly increase screen time on Twitch.

It’s more than watching people play video games. “Just Chatting” is a genre on Twitch often full of non-gamer-related content. Most of the time, the streamer simply interacts with their chat while doing some project or task, or reacting to some news or drama. However, some of the top Just Chatting streamers are usually inappropriate for kids. Whether that is a hot-tub stream (yes, girls in bikinis live streaming from a hot tub), body painting, or making suggestive sounds into the microphone (ASMR). Streamers are required to label their streams based on the content, with specific tags, so this helps make inappropriate content easier to detect without being exposed to it. And not all of the genre’s content is sexual, there are political commentators, drama channels, sports highlights, etc. But again, some of the top “Just Chatting” streamers are highly inappropriate. Be careful!

Special Events are becoming more popular on Twitch, such as 24-hour livestreams, or even a simulated parody of semi-professional baseball. If one of your kid’s favorite streamers has a special event coming up, be prepared for them to do nothing but watch the stream. With some lasting hours long, and others going ALL day.

Mature Games. Mature games, especially 1st person shooters, are extremely common on Twitch. “Battle Royal” games, such as Call of Duty: Warzone, are a fan favorite. The intensity of only having one winner creates a captivating story to victory, and people love to watch streamers rage when they lose too. There’s also a growing community for horror games, as people enjoy watching others get jump-scared and nervously wander through scary games.

Twitch on Gaming Consoles. Most gaming consoles have access to the Twitch app, which means they could have another account made using their profile on the console. Be sure to check in on your kid’s devices to ensure they aren’t hiding any alternate accounts.

How does Twitch Work?

Once you’re logged in, click the game or genre you like and then click a streamer to watch. The most popular Twitch streamers have millions of followers and hundreds of millions of channel views. Streamers earn money from ads, affiliate marketing, subscribers, and donors.

Live-streaming is risky. Live is, well, LIVE. What streamers say and do goes out immediately, so the content is unpredictable. However, Twitch is unafraid to ban people from their site for showing explicit material or saying extreme slurs.

Twitch bannings have often been controversial, as many streamers ride the line between “too explicit” and not technically breaking community guidelines. For some people, livestreaming is their entire career and livelihood. Popular streamers are rather careful not to cross the black-and-white lines, but many still operate in the gray. If your child is exposed to something egregious, reporting it will almost surely get the streamer banned, especially if they have a larger audience.

Live chat is even more risky. Moderating a live stream with thousands of users is difficult. With chatbots pasting links to websites, and scammers pretending to be other famous streamers, hackers, and trolls, it’s hard enough to monitor the streamers themselves –  it’s nearly impossible to monitor a live chat with thousands of people commenting each second.

Whispers. Users can also send direct messages, called Whispers. You can block incoming Whispers from strangers, we explain how below!

Twitch is owned by Amazon, so ads are everywhere. You’ll see mature movie and game ads as well as fast-food commercials (A Turbo account eliminates ads for $11.99/month).

Donating. Streamers will often ask for donations, or have an open donation slot running. Twitch currency is called “Bits.” Users can buy them to give to streamers (streamers earn $0.01 per Bit). Users can also sign up for monthly subscriptions to their favorite streamers, giving them special access to more content or custom chat emojis. Donations often come with a note attached. It’s a common courtesy for the streamer to read the note on stream as a thank you for the donation. This creates a sort of feedback loop similar to social media. When your note gets read to thousands of people by one of your favorite content creators, you can’t help but experience dopamine rushing through your brain.

Minor Streamers. Not in contrast to a major streamer, but someone younger than 18. For these users who might be streaming, there are loopholes in which a minor can monetize their account using Venmo. Once they can receive money, predators will donate and pressure the young streamer into doing what they say. And because money was given, the child streaming may feel obligated to complete the request.

How to Make Twitch Safer:

If you allow your child to use Twitch, we recommend you do the following:

  • Ensure their account uses their real age. For security purposes, don’t use their exact birth date, just the year. Twitch enables some content restrictions by default based on age, this is true for most online platforms.
  • Log in to their Twitch account and select their profile picture in the top left (you should know their login info!)
  • Select “Settings” then select “Security & Privacy” and toggle on “Block Whispers from Strangers”
  • Select “Settings” then select “Preferences” and change Autoplay Videos to “Never autoplay videos”
  • Have frequent conversations about what and who they watch. Learn what your kid likes!
  • Watch streams with them. We want you involved as much as you can when it comes to Twitch. Not because you don’t trust your kid, but because you don’t trust the millions of content creators out there. It might be very boring or confusing for you, but even 5 minutes of watching streams together can make a big difference.

It’s important to note that there are no content restrictions. Instead, Twitch has content labels, which will appear when clicking on a video – you might see a message that says the stream is for specific audiences only and includes “______” such as “sexual themes” “drugs” or another kind of mature content tag. Train your kid to select “Go back Home” if they ever see this message! Better yet, have them put down the device, and come tell you first.

Bottom Line: Is Twitch Safe for Kids?


For us to say that Twitch is safe for kids, we need to see true parental controls and policies that won’t change. We believe those 17 and under shouldn’t use Twitch because of the varying risks that are present at any given moment. Live video is already unpredictable, and matching that with a platform that changes its rules so thoughtlessly – Twitch is simply not worth the risk.

For alternatives, YouTube might be the best option, as many content creators stream there as well. We aren’t huge fans of YouTube, but they at least have controls that can be locked in place – read our Ultimate Guide to YouTube to learn more.

What if I have more questions? How can I stay up to date?

Two actions you can take!

  1. Subscribe to our tech trends newsletter, the PYE Download. About every 3 weeks, we’ll share what’s new, what the PYE team is up to, and a message from Chris.
  2. Ask your questions in our private parent community called The Table! It’s not another Facebook group. No ads, no algorithms, no asterisks. Just honest, critical conversations and deep learning! For parents who want to “go slow” together. Become a member today!

The Table - Private Community from PYE

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