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Published on Nov 17, 2021
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Sophia Clark

Is Steam Safe: A Complete Guide For Parents

If your kid is addicted to online gaming or PC gaming, then you must have heard about Steam. But, if you think it’s just a gaming store like a mobile app play store or an app store, hold on, I am here to tell you that there’s more to Steam.

In this blog, I will explain Steam, its features, and how secure it is to buy games from Steam. I will also tell you if Steam is safe for your kids and the parental control and monitoring techniques you can use on Steam.

So even if you don’t know what Steam is after reading this blog, you will get a complete parental guide to Steam. Continue reading the blog to know more.

What is Steam?

Steam app

Steam is the best platform for playing, creating, and discussing games. You can get instant access to nearly 30K games. Steam games range from different genres to categories. In addition, you’ll be able to take advantage of exclusive deals, automatic game updates, and other perks.

With Steam, you can:

  • Join the community:

You can chat in-game, meet new people, join groups, and form clans. The number of potential friends or even rival enemies exceeds 100 million. There is never a dull moment.

  • Experience Steam Hardware:

The Steam company developed the Steam Controller and the HTC Vive VR technology to make gaming on the PC even better.

  • Release your own game:

Those who develop games and publish them on Steam use Steamworks’ tools and services to maximize their distribution efforts.

What Are The Features of Steam?

Stream Chats

You can create a friend list with new friends, chat with your friends. Steam also comes with voice chat features. Therefore, you don’t need to leave Steam to interact with friends or groups. A variety of media types are supported, including videos, GIFs, and tweets.

You can create a new persistent channel for voice or text within any group at any time—off-topic, general, cat lovers, knitting, memes, etc. To start a channel, join a channel, and leave a channel, all it takes is a click.

Steam Chats are available in your Steam Client or your web browser.

Game Hubs

In a game hub, you will find information about all the things you should know about your game. In addition, you can join in discussions, share content, and be the first to hear about new updates.

Discussions, videos, screenshots, workshop items, and news about games are collected in Game Hubs. In addition, the Game Hub now gathers content from the community and the official game developers. So it’s a mix of community content and official content that you, as a Steam user, rate.

You can now talk about all the games you love without visiting the Steam Forums with any Game Hub with a Discussions tab. The Hub’s top content is based on your and other community members’ ratings. It clearly shows what’s most popular and the best currently.

Stream Broadcast

By simply clicking a button, you can stream your gameplay live and share your games with your friends and the community. You will be presented with privacy settings the first time someone asks to watch your game.

You will automatically start broadcasting while you play if someone starts watching. As soon as you end a game, your broadcast will end.

Stream Workshop

You can create games that millions of people can play by bringing your brilliant ideas to life in the Steam Workshop. You can download, submit, search for, and rate new content for your favorite Steam games.

You can browse almost 1,000 supported games and download player-created cosmetics and mods. In addition to your video and screenshots, you can now add 3D Sketchfab previews to the Workshop page for your mod or item.

Multilingual and Controller Support

With Steam, you can create a global community. Moreover, it supports more than 28 languages and is working on supporting many more. Hence it is a multilingual platform.

Steam’s policy also encourages game developers to include PlayStation, Nintendo, Xbox, and Switch controllers as control options in their games. Thus the games on Steam support controllers.

What Is The Appropriate Age To Use Steam?

The privacy policy of Steam states that you should be at least 13 to use Steam. So if your kids are below that and still use Steam, you should get them off that platform immediately. Steam is compatible with Windows Operating System, macOS, and Linux, which is SteamOS.

Is Steam Secure? Is it Secure To Buy Games From Steam?

Valve, a legitimate software publisher, owns Steam. Hence, Steam is secure to use. You don’t have to worry about getting hacked, online scamming, phishing, or any other kinds of fraud. Furthermore, the payment is very secure. Thus you can, without any hesitation, purchase, download, and play games from Stream.

So to answer that question, yes, Steam is secure. But a secure platform doesn’t ensure safety for your kids. So is it safe for your kids?

Is Steam Safe For Your Kid?

As I have already mentioned to you above, Steam is a secure platform from where you can securely make payments and download the game of your desire and play. There is no hacking, fraud, or error during payments.

However, is it safe for your kids? First of all, if your kids are below the age of 13, and they still are using Steam, then immediately take them away from this platform as the appropriate age for using Steam is at least 13 years old.

So now, if your kids are more than 13 years old, then does that mean, Steam is entirely safe for them? Well, the answer is still no, and I will tell you the reason why.

Online Predators and Scammers

Steam is not only a gaming platform; it’s a gaming community. Like other social media platforms, people here can chat with one another through text or voice messages. Steam has people of all age groups and thus becomes a perfect place for online predators or scammers.

Without knowing, your kids could be talking to online predators or scammers trying to groom your scammers can be luring your kids to scam money from their credit cards.

Your Kids Can Access Age Inappropriate Games

Likewise, your own kids can get access to age-inappropriate games just by making specific tweaks on the setting to change their ages.

Such adult games can be violent, graphic, filled with nudity, or porn, which can be damaging for your underage kids. In addition, it can affect them mentally and even change their behavior and psyche.

You Kid Can Come In Contact With Violent Gamers.

Moreover, we all know who graphics and violent gamers can get, so while playing online games, your kids can come into contact with these violent gamers using inappropriate language and being vulgar with your kids.

They can also bully and harass your kids online. Such acts can cause mental pressure on your kids, making them the victims of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

You Kid Can Be The Victim Of Gaming Addiction

Ultimately kids use Steam as a gaming platform. It consists of thousands of games of different genres. Kids can choose from these genres and buy and play any games they like.

But you know how the saying goes,” too much sugar can be bitter.” So likewise, continuous gaming can lead to addiction.

And when your kids are addicted to a game, they stop doing their essential work like their homework assignments, other physical activities. They even stop eating their food and jeopardize their sleep which can cause them long-term harmful effects.

How Can You Set Parental Controls On Steam: Family View

So you can see that Steam is not entirely safe even if your kids are above 13. Hence you need to set up parental control on Steam if your kids under 18 are using Steam. Don’t worry; I will teach you how.

You can set up parental control through the feature provided by Steam itself called “Family View.” With Family View, you can set your own rules for which Steam components your children can access.

Through Family View, you can control how much of the account’s content, and features are accessible to your kid. By entering an encrypted PIN, users can secure access to feature areas such as the Friends, Community, Steam Store, and Library.

How To Set Up Family View?

You can restrict access to Steam features via Family View if you wish to keep certain features out of the experience your kid’s experience. Additionally, if you want your kids to share your Steam Account with you, you can create a Steam account and enable Family View on your own Steam Account as well.

To enable Family View:

  • Step 1: Log in to your child’s Steam account.
  • Step 2: In the top menu bar, click the Steam menu.
  • Step 3: Choose Settings from the menu.
  • Step 4: On the left side of the new window, click the “Family” tab.
  • Step 5: Start the Family View wizard by clicking “Family View.”
  • Step 6: Use the wizard to select what content and features you want to be accessible from Family View while protected by a PIN.
  • Step 7: Choose your new PIN and confirm it.

Family Games Library

The Family Games are those that you’ve selected to be accessible in Family View. You can allow your account’s library to include a group called Family Games. For that, you have to only allow access to a subset of your account’s library.

You must disable Family View before adding/removing games from Family Games Library:

  • Log in to your account.
  • Choose the Family View icon.
  • To exit Family View, enter your PIN.

There are two ways to authorize a game:

  • In your library, locate the game and, from the “Add to / Remove from Family Games” menu, click it.
  • Alternatively, click “Family View” within Settings and go through the wizard again. Your Family Games group can be added or removed from this page. When you are finished, click Family View and confirm your selection to return to Family View.

Alternative Parental Controls

You can also use third-party parental controls and monitoring software like Fenced.ai, Bark, Cocospy, MobileSpy.io, etc. The monitoring apps can help you know how much your kids’ on-screen usage time is and control your kids’ screen time.

So you can use these apps to control your kids’ addiction, and more than that, you can know who your kids are talking to online and what they are talking about.

What Is Steam Wallet?

You know how some games can be expensive or have in-game app purchases that can add up quickly. So for that, Steam Wallet can be a helpful tool that you can use to manage your kids’ Steam spending.

The Steam Wallet provides you with a way to purchase content and games via the Steam store. You can either add money to a Steam Wallet using a credit card, or you can purchase a Steam gift card at a store or supermarket, enter the code, and the funds will appear.

My Final Thoughts

So now you know that Steaming is more than just a gaming store where one can buy PC games or video games. It’s more like a gaming community. You can not only just buy games, but also build and release games and let millions of other people play your games.

Talking about Steam’s safety, it can sometimes be a dangerous place, especially for young kids. Steam is a gaming community homing millions of anonymous people. So your kids can unknowingly be talking to online predators, scammers, or bullies. Your kid can also fall under gaming addiction.

So to protect your kids from all of this, fortunately, Steam provides a family paring as a parental control feature that you can use to monitor your kids on Steam.

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Sophia Clark

Sophia Clark is a writer from Sydney, kid-lit enthusiast, and mom of three kids who loves to writes about motherhood, parenting, and big feelings.