Steam introduces Families, entire family banned for cheating

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Steam introduces Families, entire family banned for cheating

Steam is launching a new program: Steam Families. The idea is that this will allow you to easily exchange games that someone in the family already owns. Very convenient, but it also has its downside. If someone from your family is a cheater, you too have a chance of being banned.

Steam Family

You can add five people to your Steam Family and, if developers allow it, you can play the games those other family members have purchased and vice versa. Super fun and useful, which also comes with some options for parents and the authority over their children. For example, parents have influence on the games that their children buy and play, and some games can be stopped.

As a parent, you can also see how many hours your child spends on the PC playing Steam games. Plus, as parents you also have a lot of control over whether and with whom your children can chat. So a lot of control, which does ensure that children can also enjoy the many great games that can be found on Steam.

It is logical that this is also included in a function such as Steam Family, but then there is also the downside. If your little brother or sister cheats, everyone in that family group has a chance of being banned. This could mean losing all your progress, or even your purchased games. That is of course something you want to avoid at all costs, so cautious people may be better off not creating a Family. At the same time, you miss out on the games that your mother might have.


In short, there are snags to this family offering. Steam describes clearly what you can do as an adult with parental controls:

With parental controls, adults can:

  • allow access to appropriate games;
  • restrict access to the Steam store, community, or chat;
  • set limits on playing time (per hour or day);
  • view reports on playing time;
  • allow or deny child account requests when children request more play time or access to features (temporary or permanent);
  • recover child accounts if children forget their password.

Family Management

It’s still in beta right now and you can find it under Family Management. Steam indicates that it is still considering whether it wants to adjust the allowed number of family members, for example. It also says that Steam Families, as Steam Family is called in Dutch, are intended for up to 6 family members with a close relationship. However, this is probably not monitored, but Steam also states: Various events in your life can cause the composition of your household to change.”

“We understand that one day you may want to join another Steam family. Adults can leave a family at any time, but they cannot join another family or create their own until it is more than one year since they joined the previous family. Children in a Steam family cannot leave the family on their own and must be removed by an adult in the family or by Steam Support. Because it is rare for a family member to leave a family leaves, there will be a 1-year cooling-off period before someone else can take the open spot in the Steam family.”

Just like in real life, even on Steam it appears that it is not wise to want to form a family with everyone. Have fun gaming!

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