What do I need to know about Steam?

We've spoken to parents to find out what they think about Steam. We've also asked children and young people what they think. Here's what they said:

Children’s views

What do children and young people dislike about it?

6% of the children and young people who reviewed Steam thought it was unsafe. The main things they told us they don’t like about Steam were:

  • Some of the games cost money to play People can bully each other

What do children and young people like about it?

The main things that children and young people told us they like about Steam were:

  • It allows you to play games with your friends
  • You can talk to people with similar interests
  • There are lots of different games to choose from

Is content on Steam suitable for children and young people?

We asked parents and young people about the types of inappropriate content they’ve seen on Steam. The level of risk is based on the % of respondents who reported seeing these types of content. The ratings are: Low Risk (less than 5% of respondents); Medium Risk (between 5 and 25%); and High Risk (over 25%, or more than one in four).


Medium Risk

Violence & hatred

Medium Risk


Medium Risk

Suicide & self-harm

Low Risk

Drink, drugs & crime

Medium Risk

What are people saying about

Boy, 17

“I like the ability to play with your own friends, but the majority of games on this application do tend to have a Toxic Community.”

Boy, 17

“It is a fun social media that connects people that play the same games together. This way you can talk to strangers without revealing your real name or face.”

Boy, 14

“Allows you to play and download games, you can play games with mates.”


“Family view is very good. It protects your child from accessing age inappropriate games via a password / pin on the parent’s computer.” – Father of 10 and 13 yr old boys


“The pressure to keep playing is bad as they are penalised by some games when their parents tell them they must stop. Steam seems to do a reasonable job of keeping children safe from inappropriate content, but does little to support sensible time management for them.” – Mother of 13 and 18 yr olds


“Be very careful what you let your children have access to as some of the games show extreme violence and sexual content.” – Father of a 17 yr old girl


"Steam guarantees instant access to more than 1,800 game titles and connects its 35 million active users to each other—and to us. Through Steam, fans can easily buy, play, share, modify, and build communities around Valve products as well as titles from other independent game studios."

O2 Guru Top Tip for Steam

O2 Guru Matthew says:

"Think of Steam as the App Store for PC’s – you can set up a family account to manage what your child is playing and potentially buying. You can put these steps in place by visiting Steam support pages for Family View."

Our O2 NSPCC Online Safety Helpline can help you to set up parental controls, adjust privacy settings or get advice on social networks. You can call us free on 0808 800 5002.

For face to face advice and support, you can also book a free in-store appointment with an O2 Guru here (even if you’re not with O2). 


What's the right age for Steam?


Steam says

This is taken from Steam’s own guidelines and is accurate as of March 2018.


Our panel of parents say

Based on our independent panel of 2,049 parents, surveyed through YouGov in January 2018.


Children say

Based on 2,059 responses from children and young people in November and December 2017.


Net Aware visitors say

Based on 174 votes from parents who have visited this site – you can vote too!

What do you think?

Adjust the slider and tell us what you think is the right age to join Steam:


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Start a conversation with your child
about Steam

Having open, regular conversations with your child will enable you to really understand and explore the online world together, helping you to keep them safe online. Our tips and advice can help you start having these conversations.

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