What is Steam?

A reader has a question about a topic I’ve been wanting to get into more depth about for some time. She writes:

“Today my grandson asked me if I had heard of a site called Steam, I said no and he wanted me to find out if it is a safe site for kids. Do you know of this site?”

Yes, I do. Steam is a leading supplier of games for PCs offers distribution of both free-to-play and paid games as well as other types of software and videos There are over 120 million active users and it’s estimated Steam has about 75% of the PC video game market.

Safe is a relative term here, so let’s explore. Steam is safe in that it is a legitimate platform created for distributing games. The games are screened for malware and other malicious content. Though, as with Google Play, the Apple App Store, or anywhere else sometimes things can sneak through.

You don’t say how old your grandson is, but Steam is not intended for players under the age of 13. In fact, those under 13 are not permitted to sign up (unless they lie about their age.)

Even if your grandson is over 13, an adult will still want to monitor what types of games he purchases or plays since some of them can have some pretty intense content and there’s no way anyone can screen the intentions of people who use Steam forums or who participate in chats inside or outside of games. This doesn’t mean Steam is less safe than any other gaming platform like Xbox or Playstation. Adults always need to keep an eye out until players are old enough to look out for themselves.

I’ll get a little more into the site and how it works in a future article.

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