Playing video games has been a popular hobby among young people for decades. Since the ‘70s, kids of all ages have been fascinated by the fictional but action-packed worlds they get to explore through their Nintendo or PlayStation.
In many ways, video games have always been an activity shared with friends. However, with the internet, it has become more social than ever. Kids can play with each other without leaving their respective rooms. They can communicate and play the same video games over the internet.
But, kids are not just playing with their friends. They are meeting new people through video games and, sometimes, they are sharing videos of themselves playing video games on the internet for strangers to watch.
The Era of Video Game Streaming
For the past decade, video game streaming became a part of the video game community. Personalities who stream themselves playing various video games earn millions of dollars per year. Tyler Blevins, known to fans as Ninja, is a popular streamer who, at his peak, upward of $500,000 per month. He has millions of followers across streaming and social media platforms.
Naturally, many people wanted to follow his footsteps. Streaming can be a lucrative career. There is a large audience for that kind of content around the world. Every month, more than a hundred thousand people log into streaming platforms such as YouTube and Twitch to watch gamers play various video games.
Streaming is free, and everyone can start a channel. Anyone who wants to be a streamer, however, needs a few things. They should have a gaming desktop or a gaming console of their choice, a decent video camera, a microphone, and an internet connection. Many streamers started as nobodies and then immediately catapulted to celebrity status in the span of a few months.
Streamers make money in a couple of ways. The most common is through subscriptions and donations. When a streamer starts to gain a following, they will begin to earn through sponsorship and advertisements.
Streaming can be a lucrative career that can lead to fame and fortune. It can also be really fun, especially among kids who want to meet new friends who have the same interests. However, there are dangers to streaming, and parents should be wary of these potential threats when their children decide to try their luck with streaming.
Being online unfortunately makes anyone a target of cyberbullies. There are so many people on the internet who do not consider how their words will affect someone else.
Cyberbullying is a real threat on all social media platforms. Streamers can expect to encounter cyberbullies on streaming websites, too. On Twitch, one study found that over 13% of respondents were personally attacked while streaming. A further 27% witnessed race and gender-based harassment on the popular streaming platform.
Cyberbullying can impact a person’s mental health. It can lead to low
Invasion of Privacy
Kids are very trusting. When they interact with strangers on the internet, they do not hesitate to share information about themselves, even if it can endanger their safety.
Although YouTube and Twitch have policies in place to ensure that every person on their platforms is safe, there might be scammers who are using strategies to pry sensitive details from video game streamers. In short, they can trick children into giving them credit card numbers of parents or log-in information to gain access to their accounts.
In some cases, the scammer might ask for the child’s real name, birthday, and address. They can use this information to steal the streamer’s identity.
Even online celebrities have to deal with fans who step out of the line. Some followers may try to send inappropriate content to a streamer they follow. There have also been instances where the fan tried to meet a streamer, determining their exact location from the background of live streams or from posts on social media.
In the past year, streamers on Twitch spoke about their experience of stalking from followers on the platform. They spoke about receiving numerous messages and, sometimes, fans showing up on their front doors.
It is a terrifying possibility, especially to children whose audience may not be entirely kids.
Children should be given ample before they start streaming or before they interact with strangers while watching streamers. The internet is filled with people with ill intent. Although platforms are rolling out features to protect young members, parents and guardians should always monitor what their children are doing on the internet to prevent unwanted incidents and protect them from harm.