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Steam

Steam is an entertainment platform and app where you can play, discuss and create games. You can chat to other members of the community, through groups, clans or in-game chat features. Users can also livestream on Steam.

13+

Official age rating

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Watch

Our safety ratings

Overall safety rating:

Our overall rating for Steam

Average

There are a number of different games available on Steam and some contain mature themes that aren’t suitable for children. However, there are tools and features that can help you manage what your child can see and play on the app.

The app also has a number of different communication features and users can speak to each other using text and audio chat.

We would recommend setting up your child’s account using Steam’s parental control feature Family View to limit which features and games your child can access. You should also explore the content settings to help stop your child from playing games that contain adult themes.


With parental supervision and a Family View account, we think Steam is ok for kids 13 and over to use.

 

Safety features

Steam has a parental controls feature, called Family View, that lets families choose what parts of the platform are accessible. Family View allows you to select certain games to play, as well as restrict access to community-generated content, chat and forums.

Remember to explore Steam together so you can agree on what your child should see. If you choose to use Family View, Steam has information on how to set it up.

Privacy & location

The privacy settings on Steam are good and you can set who can see the information on your account by choosing between, public, private or friends only. Your username and avatar can’t be made private and will appear to everyone. Help your child set up an appropriate username that doesn’t include any personal information like names or locations.

You should make sure to explore the different privacy settings with your child.

Reporting & blocking

Steam has two clear guides outlining how users should behave on the platform and guidelines for discussions that take place.

The reporting and blocking tools are good and easy to find:
• You can report individual pieces of content by selecting the flag next to it.
• You can also report and block individual users by visiting their profile, selecting the ‘More’ dropdown menu and choosing ‘Block’.

Content

Some of the games on Steam contain mature themes that aren’t suitable for children, such as sex and nudity.

There are settings that help to stop your child from seeing mature content. Be aware most of these settings are switched off by default so make sure to explore these in 'Store Content Preferences' before you let your child use the app.

There are also profanity filters you can enable on the chat function which will help to stop your child from seeing inappropriate language.

O2 Guru top tip

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On Steam family accounts

Check out Steam’s parental controls feature - Family View - and agree with your child which parts of the platform should be accessible to them.

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Top tips for staying safe

Sitting down with your child and exploring Steam together is a great way for you to learn more about the platform and why your child might want to use it.

Explore the different features and games available and agree some rules around which ones they’d like to use. Be aware in-game features will vary from game to game so it’s important to look at each game invidually and explore the features available.

You might also want to check out our advice article on Livestreaming and video apps.

Help your child think about what they share online and who sees it. Compare it to what they would be happy to share offline.

Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You shouldn't give your number to somebody you don't know on the street. Is somebody online you don't know any different?”

Listen to their answers. And be positive and encouraging.

Remind them that they shouldn’t share private things, such as:

  • personal information, like names, emails, phone numbers, location and school names
  • other people's personal information
  • links to join private group chats
  • photos of themselves
  • photos of their body, such as sexual photos or videos.

Steam has a parental controls feature, called Family View, that lets families choose what parts of the platform are accessible.

Family View allows you to select certain games to play, as well as restrict access to community-generated content, chat and forums.

Remember to explore Steam together so you can agree on what your child should see.  If you choose to use Family View, Steam has information on how to set it up.

It's important to check the privacy settings on your child's Steam account. As standard, basic details such as your profile and friends list are public but you can change the privacy settings so only your friends can see things like your profile, comments and friends list.

You can view these by:
1) Clicking on your child’s account in the top right corner.
2) Selecting View my Profile.
3) Selecting Edit Profile and Privacy Settings.

To help stop your child from playing games that contain adult themes, you should switch off mature content in their settings.

You can turn this off via Family View or going into Account Settings and selecting ‘mature content off’.

Be aware that there is no guarantee this will stop your child from seeing something they might find upsetting.

Explain that you understand the internet is a great place to play, create, learn and connect. But remind them they can talk to you if anything upsets or worries them.

Reassure them that you won’t overreact – you’re just looking out for them.

It’s important to remind your child that they can talk you, another adult they trust, like a teacher, or Childline about anything they see online.

What kids and parents are saying about Steam

We've spoken to over 2,000 parents and kids to find out what they think.

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Kids

What do children and young people dislike about Steam?

  • Some of the games cost money to play
  • People can bully each other

I like the ability to play with your own friends, but the majority of games on this application do tend to have a toxic community.

Boy, 17 

What do children and young people like about Steam?

  • It allows you to play games with your friends
  • You can talk to people with similar interests
  • There are lots of different games to choose from

It is a fun social media that connects people that play the same games together. This way you can talk to strangers without revealing your real name or face.

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Parents

Signing up

It was very easy with my email address and I had a confirmation email.

Mum of a 17 year old

Reporting

The information is there, but you had to go to the Help Centre option, open it on a browser window and then search for the instructions.

Dad of 5 and 13 year olds

Privacy settings

Overall, parents found it easy to turn off their location settings and change their settings so that their profile and account was private.

Under the privacy setting there was only a single option, which has a tick box to say whether you wish to receive messages from 'everyone' or not.

Father of 16 and 17 year olds 

It was not straightforward to find the settings button, as it was hidden in a long menu. I could not find anything about location settings at all.

Mum of 12 and 14 year olds

 

Safety and support

Games and video come with a warning of content, but it’s still too easy to gain access to everything. 

Mum of 5 and 9 year old boys

The information is there for community standards and safety information, although it is not obvious and you have to press several links to find it.

Mum of a 15 year old girl 

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