The Hidden Dangers of Twitch

Jul 10, 2017

If I asked some people, “what’s Twitch?”, they might break down the exact definition of a sudden movement, but if I asked someone who knows even the slightest about video gaming culture, they would explain that it’s a social streaming platform and video gaming community.

With a little more than 9.7 million daily active users and about 2+ million unique streamers per month, Twitch is rapidly expanding. Even Mark Zuckerberg stated, “video gaming is a mega trend, almost as big as mobile,” and with gaming still on the rise, this only means more opportunity for video gaming live streamers and their audiences.

Twitch has been around since 2011 and is the world’s leading social video platform and community for video gamers, nerd culture and creative arts. Close to around 10 million people gather every day to just watch and talk about gaming with over 2 million live streamers. In today’s world live streaming services, like YouTube, Facebook Live, and Periscope, are more than just technology, it’s a way to connect and interact. These platforms are all about cultivating and empowering a community of fans and creators, all while making the experience, fun and enjoyable.

Twitch 1


Why are Video Gamers Live Streaming?

We live in a time and age where social FOMO (The Fear of Missing Out) is highly contagious because of today’s technology and our accessibility to see what others are doing. But let’s break down the reasons a little further.

It’s Recreational

Long day at work? How about relaxing and laughing at two siblings playing a horror video game together. This brings value to both the audience and the live streamers as it’s a shared interactive experience. Watching something you’re interested in, live streaming something you’re interested in, it’s a win, win for both parties.

It’s Marketing

Want to start a brand? Well, one step is to start live streaming something that you’re extremely passionate about. After a while, you might have a small following that could expand in no time with the right effort and dedication. Before long, you could have a few thousand followers with advertisers/endorsement deals knocking on your door. This is the business model that many live streamers try to achieve and it’s a growing one at that.

It’s Trendy

Being “in the moment” seems to be what’s trending as of late, with YouTube, Instagram and even Facebook all integrating live streaming in some way or form. It’s an unedited, authentic look into the live streamer’s daily life – seeing someone in real-time without fancy edits, graphics or post production. And as a result, we tune-in to watch, especially if we can relate or connect with the content and/or live streamer’s personality.

What does Twitch Offer to Audiences?

You may think that only the live streamer benefits from using the Twitch platform, but that’s not always the case, as there’s also a lot of hidden takeaway values from watching live video game streams.

Justifying a Purchase

A lot of video gamers use Twitch to weigh their purchase decisions. If a popular Twitch live streamer tells their audience that a game is terrible, 9 times out of 10 the audience won’t waste their time buying the game. The same works the other way around, if a live streamer says that a game is amazing, then the audience won’t hesitate to buy. This very powerful influence is the reason why video gaming companies want in, and even offer popular live streamers free products to test and show to their audience.

Spectator Sporting

E-sports, also known as Electronic Sports is a form of competition, usually involving video games. Think of like the Olympics but replace the regular events with video games, as it’s typically when the top players in the world go head to head. With the E-sports community in high demand, Twitch offers a way to view the entire experience, whether it’s a tournament or a gaming convention, viewers will have a way to watch their favorite professional gamers go up against the competition.

Experience

Twitch isn’t just limited to video gaming. Yes, video gaming is probably the most associated with the streaming giant, but there are many other uses live streamers and audiences alike use the platform for, such as:

  • Watching User-Generated Programing
    Streamers can broadcast and program their own shows, segments, talk shows and much other unique content. Think of watching a network catered to whatever you like watching without the hassle of commercials.

  • Twitch Creative
    Remember watching Bob Ross painting happy clouds? Well, think of that with Twitch’s Creative department, as you can watch live tutorials of your favorite artists at work. With a variety of streams involving composing songs, cooking meals, drawing/painting, and more. The takeaway value is very high in this department.

  • Events
    Ever wanted to experience Comic Con, the biggest comic book convention, hosted in San Diego, live? Or how about Wizard World, the biggest pop-culture convention in gaming? From press conferences to convention center activities, with Twitch you can watch major events happening live in the comfort of your home.

The Bad

Parents should care about what’s on Twitch because it’s very popular among younger audiences, especially gamers. When it comes to concerns on the streaming platform, there’s a few to consider:

Live Streaming
With live streaming, parents should be cautious as the content isn’t edited and anything could happen. Unfiltered language, inappropriate imagery and more could be shown as there is no delay between what is happening live.

Chat Moderation
The chat feature is completely useless on bigger streams, as everyone is typing at the same time to interact with their favorite streamers. Because the chat gets so out of hand on bigger channels, or the broadcaster’s living content space. It pretty much becomes a yelling contest filled with cyberbullying, hate speech and more.

As a live stream goes on, users are encouraged to comment and interact with the streamers, but as a audiences grow so does the chat, which makes the chat become overflowed with comments. Some users take this as an opportunity to say foul language and harass others. When this happens, the moderators on Twitch can’t keep up with the overloaded chat, so many of the comments go unpunished.

Below is an example of multiple users messaging within the same second.

Twitch 2


What Parents Need to Know

Twitch is a growing platform that isn’t going away anytime soon. Whether your child is live streaming or watching, it’s best to take these precautions. If live streaming, make sure the game your child is streaming is age appropriate. Also, make sure your chat is monitored so you don’t invite any unwanted attention. If your child is mostly watching other gamers’ live streams, the best thing to do is to do research on the people your child watches and have them not watch streams that are not age appropriate. Following these will make you and your child’s Twitch experience safer and your peace of mind more enjoyable.