Social networks, apps and games
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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

12+

Parent age rating

What do parents say?
11+

Child age rating

What do children say?

At a glance

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Parents' and children's view of risks...

Sexual

Medium Risk

Violence & hatred

Medium Risk

Bullying

Medium Risk

Suicide & self-harm

Low Risk

Drink, drugs & crime

Medium Risk

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

Exploring apps, sites and games together is a great way to involve your child in the decision-making process.

Be positive about what you see, but also be open about your concerns. Ask them what they think is appropriate and what worries them.

If you decide it’s not appropriate, then make sure you explain your reasons why (and be prepared for an unhappy child).

You might decide it’s ok for your child to use. If so, make sure you follow the tips below to ensure it’s as safe as possible. And work out a time when you’ll next discuss the app.

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

You might want to start by asking:

  • What kinds of things do you share online?
  • Should we share everything?
  • What shouldn’t we share?

Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You wouldn’t give your number to a stranger on the street. Is a stranger online 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 emails, names, phone numbers, school names
  • photos of themselves with strangers
  • photos of their body
  • gossip

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.

And if they feel like they can’t speak to you, tell them to talk to an adult they trust, like a teacher or Childline.

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 visit Steam for specific information on privacy settings.

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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