For many teens around the world, livestreaming is a great way for them to keep up with trends, hobbies, and interests – engaging with their favorite creators and streamers in real time, with no filter.
For many parents and guardians, that’s exactly where the problem lies. No safeguards, no controls, and no knowledge of what their children might come up against as they tune in. And now, a new livestream contender has joined the pack, going live to the world in early 2023. The platform’s name is Kick, and it’s already been joined by a whole host of streamers, thanks to its boasting of “creator-friendly” policies. But is Kick safe for children and teens, and should younger viewers be watching at all?
What is Kick livestream?
Kick is one of the latest contenders to jump into the streaming wars, positioning itself as a platform that favors creators. On its website, Kick describes itself as the “the fastest-growing” livestreaming service, in addition to being the “most rewarding”. Kick allows viewers to tune in and watch for free, browsing all manner of livestreams, including gaming, music, and sports broadcasts, from creators all around the world.
One of Kick’s backers, Ed Craven, stated in an interview that Kick has only two rules: “no pornography”, and “no hate speech”. Kick creators often host gambling streams – something Twitch started cracking down on in 2022.
Because of its more lax reputation regarding what creators can stream, Kick has come to be known as more of an “anything goes” platform, attracting viewers and streamers alike from popular platforms such as Twitch, which enforces stricter guidelines overall.
Why is Kick becoming popular?
Kick has experienced a recent surge in users thanks to popular streamers such as xQc and Adin Ross hosting on the platform. These streamers have both experienced bans on Twitch – in the case of Adin Ross, multiple times due to the use of “hateful slurs” – and happily jumped ship over to Kick, along with their own devout following.
While Kick is certainly drawing in new viewers thanks to the number of creators signing up, time will tell whether it has the same staying power as other popular streaming platforms, especially Twitch, which still reigns supreme with the younger crowd. According to Qustodio data, in 2022 Twitch was the 5th most popular online video service among under-18s globally, and the most popular livestream platform for that age group.
How old do you have to be to use Kick?
Kick’s Terms of Service state that users must be 13 (16 in Europe) to be able to use the platform. Minors under the age of 18 can only use the service with express consent from a parent or legal guardian.
Is Kick safe to watch?
To watch Kick, you don’t need to have an account. You can simply enter a livestream and view, although you won’t be able to leave comments and enter the chat. This means anyone, regardless of their age, can access Kick and tune in to the streams hosted on the platform, where popular categories include gaming and live music. However, there are also many livestreams with a more adult theme, such as a whole category dedicated to gambling, and the interestingly titled “pools, hot tubs and bikinis”.
Many of the livestreamers on Kick mark their content as being only suitable for 18+, but there’s no age verification system – just a popup advising mature content. All the viewer has to do is click a button stating they’re over 18, and they’ll be allowed in to watch.
And it’s not just mature content viewers may come up against on Kick. Creators linked to extremist ideas, many of whom have been banned from other streaming platforms, have found a home there. And just like any livestream platform, anything can happen during a broadcast – viewers could easily be exposed to hate speech, violence, or upsetting content as they browse channels.
Does Kick allow nudity?
Despite Kick’s apparent interest in jacuzzis, the platform has limits on what creators are allowed to wear and show while they host.
Kick’s community guidelines prohibit streamers from showing “sexually suggestive clothing”, but they are allowed to broadcast while wearing swimwear. So while this means Kick doesn’t show nudity, the nature of these livestreams is far from appropriate for younger viewers, especially as streamers have no control over what gets discussed within the chat section on their channel.
Qustodio’s final advice on Kick livestream
During our testing of the platform, we came across several inappropriate livestreams and content which would be unsuitable for under 18s – all without creating an account. Minors using livestream services should tread with caution generally, and parents should keep an eye on what children are watching when they stream online, but with newer services like Kick, it’s probably best that your child avoids tuning in, at least until it becomes more established.
With the help of parental controls, you can:
- Block Kick on your child’s browser, on computers, smartphones, and tablets
- Block or limit access to the Kick app
- Set time limits on the apps your child uses
- Schedule times when your child’s devices can’t be used, such as during the night or just before bedtime
If your child or teen has a favorite streamer or somebody they enjoy watching, who has moved over to Kick, it’s a good idea to sit down and talk with them about why the platform is inappropriate for under-18s, and see if you can find an alternative together.
In addition, the more children engage with livestreaming content, the more inspired they may be to try it out for themselves – something which comes with another set of risks entirely, and which could be very dangerous for children if not carried out with extreme caution, or without supervision.
No streaming service is ever 100% safe, but by engaging in regular conversation with your child, learning about their online interests, and tailoring parental control tools to your family’s unique situation, you’ll work towards keeping them safe as they enjoy content online.
Remember that safety in the digital age requires a proactive and informed approach, and your involvement is crucial in protecting your child from potential online threats.