Description: Twitch lets you instantly watch broadcasts of the games you love and chat with the players you follow. Features include (from the iTunes App Store):
APP Store rating: 12+ (infrequent: simulated gambling, fantasy & realistic violence, mild sexual content and nudity, mature themes, profanity and crude humor, drug use).
Massively popular. Twitch is owned by Amazon and boasts over 100 million viewers monthly. Watching someone else play a game doesn’t make sense if you’re not a gamer, but for many enthusiasts, it’s akin to watching reality television. Once you’re logged in, click the game you like and then click a live stream of people playing the game. The most popular Twitch streamers have millions of followers, and hundreds of millions of channel views (crazy!). Broadcasters (same as streamers) earn $$ based on the number of subscribers.
Many of the games are violent. Twitch does have mild favorites like Minecraft, but many are mature, including Fallout and Call of Duty.
There’s plenty of mature language. Twitch has rules against getting too graphic, but kids will definitely hear and see swear words from the various commentators.
It’s Amazon, so of course, there’s advertising galore. You’ll see mature movie and game ads as well as fast-food commercials. (A Turbo account eliminates ads for $8.99/mo.
Twitch can be a real time-waster. If you have screen time concerns, then Twitch will drive you crazy, as there’s an endless supply of gamers, information, and other gamer swag.
On the other hand, for kids who love gaming, Twitch is a dream come true. There’s definitely a community-like feel to many who enjoy the platform. Gamers stick together and Twitch gives young gamers a place to connect with like-minded peers.
Live-streaming is risky. Live is, well, LIVE. What gamers say and do goes out immediately, so the content is unpredictable.
There’s a TwitchTV App for Xbox. This page from Xbox explains how it works. Parents do have a nice suite of parental controls available to them on the Xbox, but there are a lot of steps required to set it up, which we explain in detail on our Xbox page.
Due to the live streaming aspect to Twitch, we are hesitant to recommend for tweens unless mom and dad are very involved and their kids are equipped to know how to handle what they’re seeing. For teens, parents still need to be aware of the content, but it’s probably ok. The App Store rating is a little light, but there’s nothing between 12+ and 17+, so it’s as accurate as it can be.