Game distributor Steam has recently announced the introduction of new family options for all of their users. Starting last week, any Steam user may enable family settings that can hide selected games or features, including community forums and online chatting.

If you don’t have a Steam account, this might be the perfect time to consider trying it out. Steam is free software that allows users to purchase and play video games on their Mac or PC. It creates an easily organizable library of your games you can access by entering your username and password on any computer that runs Steam. It also provides a space for community discussions and for publishing your in-game accomplishments. Now that there are family options available, you can easily share a gaming account with your children and control via pin number which games will be accessible. Your kids can have fun playing family-friendly titles like Scribblenauts, Ittle Dew, or Papo & Yo, and you can download scarier titles for yourself.

These family options are coming out just in time for the release of the Steam Machines, Steam’s foray into console gaming. Steam Machines will run much like computers. They will come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices to fit your gaming habits.

Although Steam is often considered on the edge of mainstream gaming, these new family options will allow the company to reach out to a greater audience.

“It sometimes seems there are as many family policies as there are families,” Steam wrote in their official announcement, “So with Family Options, we’re introducing a new way for parents and families to establish their own rules together, using Steam.”

The family options are flexible and simple to set up. After creating your account and downloading the free Steam software on Steam’s official website, simply go to your Account Details and scroll down until you see a box titled “Family Options.” Then follow the instructions as prompted.

Steam Family Options

That Steam is setting up resources to make itself more widely available is also great news for indie game makers, whose creations often find a home on Steam before reaching any other platform.

This article was written by

Courtney is Pixelkin's Associate Managing Editor. While working with the Girl Scouts of Northern California, she mentored young girls in teamwork, leadership, personal responsibility, and safety. Today, she spends her time studying adolescent development and using literary analysis techniques to examine video games.