Are parental controls coming to Steam?

Most modern gaming consoles have a parental lock system, a way of preventing kids (or anyone without the passcode) from playing games that are inappropriate. Now, it seems that Steam is taking the same sort of system to PC, introducing something it calls “Kid Mode”.

Steam

Not (necessarily) safe for kids.

Games are traditionally thought of as being “just for kids”, but these days, there’s more than a few that are definitely not safe for the pre-teen market. While Steam – and parent company Valve has not yet said anything on the topic, “Kid Mode” was accidentally leaked in a bug report.

My Client has been putting me into “Kid Mode”, i have not configured or set it up at all, and you cant turn it odd without a PIN which again “I never setup”. only way to get out is to sign out and Back in, but shortly after browsing my library it turns it back on again.

Obviously, one bug report and a little circumstantial evidence does not add up to a full feature list or details on just how the mode will be implemented. At this stage, at least, it looks like a “Kid Mode” will be something that can be toggled on or off, and will restrict access to certain games – just like we’ve seen with consoles for years.

What we don’t know is how Kid Mode will know which games are okay: It may use ESRB or other local ratings, Valve might set its own criteria, or the user themselves may have custom control over which games can be played in Kid Mode.

…and before you think that this is just some random anecdote, a Valve technician replied to the original bug report. “That definitely shouldn’t be happening,” he observes.

Adding further fuel to the fire, when a gamer comments that they “never knew Steam had Parental Control,” the techie replies “It’s not supposed to yet.”

We’ll keep you posted.

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