A Guide to Steam Parental Controls
Released in 2003, the gaming platform Steam has over 120 million active online users. Steam allows registered users to access games, social networking features like chat with friends, and the ability to purchase digital copies of games.
Steam has helped bring several games to the mainstream, attracting young gamers and game developers to an even wider audience.
With this mass appeal, Steam has also become a major source of concern for parents – from the time spent playing to what is being played, Steam has many features that can be monitored or blocked to limit your child’s access.
Luckily, parents can set up parental controls to monitor their children’s game-playing habits and game ratings through the Steam website. In this guide, we’ll go over how to set up parental controls, what to watch out for to keep your kids safe, and how to avoid the most common issues.
What is Steam?
Steam was created in 2003 by Valve as an online distribution platform for video games.
The platform allows users to download and play games on their computer, connect to the Steam community and chat with friends.
Valve Software is a privately held corporation that develops games and manages the Steam platform. Valve has several massively popular gaming titles under its belt, such as Left 4 Dead and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Today, users can purchase digital copies of games through the Steam store, which work like physical copies except that they are downloaded directly to their computer.
Why Parents Might be Interested in Setting up Parental Controls?
As young gamers grow more interested in content that may be inappropriate for their age, Steam has become a popular hub for games and community online.
With both paid and free-to-play games available, there is more opportunity than ever for children to access games that can be harmful.
Parents can check on their children’s game-playing habits by monitoring the content of the video games they play and who they are playing with online. With the Steam platform comes a variety of concerns for parents, including:
- What games their children are playing
- How much time they spend playing video games
- Contact with strangers through online multiplayer features
- Access to mature content on the platform
Parents should be aware that child predators have found ways around internet safety measures to target kids through video game networks like Steam. Parents are strongly cautioned to closely monitor their children’s use of the Steam platform – making setting parental controls a must-do.
Does Steam Have Parental Controls?
When you are looking to create Steam account for child under 13, it is essential to know that Steam offers parental controls to monitor the age of content used for games.
Parents can go to their child’s account on the Steam website to set up Steam parental controls. They will enter a code specifically assigned to their child’s account and follow prompts to set up parental controls.
How Do I Set Parental Controls On Steam?
Step 1. Create an Account
One of the best ways to boost parental controls on Steam is by creating a specific account for your child. Parents can go to the Steam website and sign up for an account that their child can access.
If an account already exists, parents should check with their child to ask for the email address and password that they use when signing up on Steam. Parents can also create an account for themselves by signing into Steam or creating a new one on the Steam website.
Step 2. Change Your Privacy Settings
Once logged into the account that will be used to play games on Steam, head to the Settings tab in the account pane. This will take you to a page where you can change your profile name and password, among other options.
Look for the Family tab within the settings page – this will take you to the location where you can set up your Steam family view. This will allow you to easily track what content your child is using and who they are playing with online.
Step 3. Set Up Restrictions via Steam Family View
Clicking Family will take you to a Steam Family View wizard, which walks users through selecting their child’s account, setting Steam parental controls, and updating the account PIN to verify the settings.
The wizard will ask users which of your children want to use Steam under your protection.
Users can choose which games will be available for each child when logged into their Steam accounts. They can also select which Steam features are allowed for each child, including:
- Viewing their Friends list and who they are playing with
- Sending and receiving messages from other users
- Accessing the Steam Community Market to buy or sell items
- Setting time limits on gameplay and access
- Resetting PIN to update parental control access
With these options for parental controls, parents will be able to monitor and restrict what games and features their kids can access on Steam. This is critical for parents to ensure that the games are age-appropriate and limit time spent on video games.
Parents should keep the PIN number and account information stored safely so they can access it in the event of a security issue.
How to Reset Steam Family PIN
If you forget the PIN number for parental controls, click on the “I Forgot My PIN” link to reset your Steam Family View.
Enter your email address used to set up your child’s account, and a new PIN will be sent to that email after a few minutes. The new PIN number will allow you to check on games and social interactions with other players again.
What To Watch Out For When Kids Use Steam?
After setting up Steam parental controls, parents should keep an eye on what games their children are playing and how much time they spend gaming.
Parents may be surprised to find that many popular games people assume are age-appropriate contain mature content, including violence and profanity.
Parents should also monitor how much time is spent playing video games as this can be a problem for children who have trouble focusing on other tasks. If you believe your child may struggle with addiction to video games, talk to a doctor or mental health professional about help options.
By setting up parental controls on Steam, parents can keep a watchful eye on their children’s gaming while also promoting healthy interactions between peers.