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What parents need to know about Twitch

Posted at 5:08 PM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-27 19:14:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Although the game has only been out for a year, Fortnite reportedly has 125 million total players.

Many of them are using Twitch, an Amazon-owned online streaming platform, to feed the Fortnite frenzy.

Through Twitch, fans can watch their favorite players master the games they love and even ask questions. With a smartphone or webcam, users can even stream themselves playing. 

"Watching individuals on the other end gives us the opportunity to either obtain the skills or just see why the individuals have become so great at it," said Abdul Rasheed Yahaya, who owns Local Legends Gaming in Kansas City.

One such celebrity is Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, who has nearly 10.8 million followers and makes $500,000 a month playing Fortnite on Twitch.

While some videos are uploaded to the platform, others are live streams broadcast in real time. Hearing that can be enough to make some parents, well, twitch.

"Twitch is a platform that's unfiltered, so the contributors at Twitch can put into the world just about anything they want," Yahaya said.

The site does have a long list of prohibited conduct, including creating or uploading content that's unlawful, obscene or abusive. 

"The followers will also target negativity," Yahaya added.

Aside from listing banned content, the terms of service also say users must be at least 13 years old and only use Twitch with parental supervision if under 18.

Yahaya emphasized it's important for parents to have conversations with their kids about the platform, which is what he plans to do with his own son.

"It's going to be on our end as parents to truly let him know hey, this is what I want you to avoid," Yahaya said. 

Common Sense Media compiled a list of things parents should know about Twitch, including:

  • Some of the games, like Fallout and Call of Duty, are pretty violent.
  • Many commentators use mature language.
  • The site runs a lot of advertising, including ads for mature movies and games.
  • Live streaming is risky. 
  • Twitch costs can add up. Although it's free to sign up and chat, a Turbo account that eliminates ads costs $8.99 monthly. Subscriptions to individual broadcasters also come at a price.