A new study suggests that Twitch could be a haven for predators targeting young streamers.
Credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images

New research has highlighted the potential risk faced by teenage streamers on Twitch, asserting that bad actors are capable of preying on vulnerable young users of the platform.

Researchers at the Teen Trends Consortium, based at Cohen’s Children Medical Center at Northwell Health, found that identifying potential teen streamers on Twitch takes only a brief 12 seconds.

Over 100 young streamers, collectively amassing 1.7 million followers, were observed, with many routinely sharing personal information. While the researchers could not independently validate the streamers’ ages, they relied on visual assessments and the minors’ self-disclosed ages.

Shockingly, nearly half of these minors disclosed their real names and shared their locations, while more than a third revealed detailed streaming schedules and two-thirds directed viewers to their public social media profiles.

The study also revealed that minors had a unique incentive to engage viewers, as Twitch allows minors to receive donations. Surprisingly, over a third of the youth observed were recipients of such donations, despite the platform’s rules requiring parental consent for minors to monetize their streams.


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Although Twitch’s monetization program requires parental consent for minors, it doesn’t have a minimum age requirement beyond the standard 13 years or older for platform use. Moreover, streamers outside Twitch’s partner programs can still receive donations through third-party platforms, like PayPal or Venmo.

In certain instances, the research documented minors changing clothes or trying on different outfits during livestreams in response to donation-related comments without tracking any efforts to exploit them.

Fiona Dubrosa, lead author of the study, emphasized the potential harm, stating, “People can make you feel obligated to do things, and that’s not OK.” Dubrosa is scheduled to present findings from the study, titled “Predator Paradise: Analyzing the Ease of Accessibility to Minors on Twitch,” at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual conference. The research is also set for submission to the journal Pediatrics.

“Any predatory behavior that targets kids is abhorrent.”

– Twitch

In response to the study, Twitch reaffirmed its commitment to youth safety, stating, “Any predatory behavior that targets kids is abhorrent,” and stressed its prohibition of inappropriate interactions with minors on the platform.

Twitch employs automated technology to identify potential predators and streamers under 13, investigating and potentially banning those accounts. The platform’s parent and educator guide advises minors on avoiding online risks and flagging inappropriate incidents for immediate action.

While implementing measures to prevent inappropriate content, Twitch acknowledges that these efforts may not fully shield young users from negative experiences. Previous investigations have also revealed instances of predatory behavior on Twitch.

However, Twitch’s terms of service make clear that the platform is not available to users under 13 and requires supervised use for those aged between 13 and the legal majority in their region.

The research also highlighted the fact that parents or guardians were not observed in the livestreams of the followed youth, indicative of a critical gap in supervision.

The study concludes that it was surprisingly easy to identify, observe, and collect data on minors on Twitch, emphasizing the urgent need for parental awareness and oversight due to potential risks to minors online.

Dr. Ruth Milanaik, the principal investigator, urged parents to understand the risks and the need for guidance, stating, “It’s literally just opening up a window to your bedroom and allowing strangers in.”

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Rebecca Ruiz

Rebecca Ruiz

Rebecca Ruiz is a Senior Reporter at Mashable. She frequently covers mental health, digital culture, and technology. Her areas of expertise include suicide prevention, screen use and mental health, parenting, youth well-being, and meditation and mindfulness. Prior to Mashable, Rebecca was a staff writer, reporter, and editor at NBC News Digital, special reports project director at The American Prospect, and staff writer at Forbes. Rebecca has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master’s in Journalism from U.C. Berkeley. In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer, watching movie trailers, traveling to places where she can’t get cell service, and hiking with her border collie.


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