Updated: 14th May, 2021

Among Us is an online multiplayer game with over 300 million monthly active users which has become hugely popular among children and young people. Although the game has been around since 2018, its popularity skyrocketed during the summer of 2020 due to lockdown restrictions and after several famous gaming live streamers played it on their channels. 

But what is it? How does it work and is it safe for children and young people? 

  • Among Us is rated PEGI 7+  due to mild violence
  • On the Apple App Store, the game is rated as 9+

  • Android use PEGI’s 7+  rating as guidance

The game’s producers (InnerSloth) state in their privacy policy that the platform is not designed for children and defines a child as anyone under the age of 16.

What is it?

Among Us is a cartoon-like game that revolves around different players attempting to figure out who is a friend and who is an enemy. Each player is given the role of either Crewmate or Imposter. 

Crewmates aim to collectively complete small tasks and ascertain who is an imposter through deduction, deflecting attention away to others, and attempting to catch other users out. The imposter aims to sabotage the crewmate’s mission and kill them, without being found out. This game quickly becomes a game of comical wit, manipulationand backstabbing. 

The game is played on various ‘maps’ and ends in the event of one of the following scenarios:

  • All imposters are dead and tasks completed
  • There is an equal number of crewmates and imposters
  • The imposters successfully sabotage enough missions

Game Updates and Changes 

As of early May 2021, Among Us has updated its mobile platform to include direct integrations to Twitch and Discord. While this is great news for avid gaming streamers, there are some concerns over the safeguarding aspects of these platforms. 

What is Twitch? 

Twitch is a live streaming community for gaming. It allows gamers to share live gameplay for others to watch and comment on, while also providing playback and chat functions for users. This makes sharing gameplay or watching other gamers more accessible, as gamers are no longer restricted to their gaming desktop. 

What is Discord?

Discord is a voice, video, and text chat platform made of (mostly) invite-only, private communities. This update makes sharing game chats and room codes much easier.

Players must have full accounts on Twitch and Discord in order to use these updates within the game. Both platforms claim users must be 13+ to create an account, but there is no age verification process. 

The public nature of these platforms is a concern as it significantly increases the capacity for stranger interaction. As both are public platforms used for a variety of games, players may be exposed to inappropriate material from other players, videos, or games.  

While Discord requires you to have an account to view the platform, Twitch does not. One of our testers was able to search and watch Among Us videos on Twitch without an account simply by visiting the site. They were exposed to inappropriate material almost immediately. 

In late March/early April 2021, Among Us developers began to roll out new updates to the game across platforms. These updates include: 

  • The launch of the highly anticipated new ‘Airship’ map
  • A new bundle available on the mobile and PC version that includes new skins and hats for characters
  • New additional tasks that can be completed as part of the game

Among Us Accounts

However, the biggest change to the game that came with this update is the addition of user accounts. Whereas before all players would log in as guests, users now have the option to create an account. Here are further details on the new accounts system: 

  • Creating an account is completely free
  • It is not a requirement to play the game and users can choose to play in guest mode instead
  • Account holders will have additional benefits, such as being able to choose their own usernames. Players without an account will be assigned a randomly generated username
  • Account holders can exclusively access ‘Free Chat’, whilst those playing in guest mode will be locked to Quick Chat, the chat system that gives only preset options of messages to send to fellow players
  • Accounts will be device-bound and there’s no way to transfer data from one account to another. For example, if someone creates an account on an iOS device, and then plays on a Nintendo Switch, the data won’t carry across. Only the account on the platform used is visible. Players will have to create multiple accounts if they want to use several different platforms

Reporting Feature

Users who make offensive comments, harass others, or cheat can now be reported by other playersGame developers say that all reports will be read by real people and consequences for inappropriate behavior will range from a temporary to permanent ban.   

Parental Permissions

  • Children attempting to make an account under the age of 13 will need permission from a parent or carer
  • A parent or carer can create an account and give their child access, but they will need to verify this by using a physical credit or debit card

  • To verify its you, the game holds a fee of £0.30 from your account for 7 days – after that they will then refund the amount back on to your card

What risks should Parents and Carers be aware of? 

Our team of online safety experts have played and tested Among Us and discovered risks that you should be aware of, these include:  

  • Among Us has two different game types, local’ and ‘online’. Playing local, means you are playing with people you know, whereas an online game means it is public and you can play with anyone online
  • The risk of playing with online strangers is amplified by a chat feature, which has been known to contain adult themes and use of profanity.  We recommend using the ‘chat-censor’ feature to filter explicit language in the chatbot. You can also choose to turn the chat feature off completely
  • Among Us collects user data and has in-app advertising. The app’s privacy policy states that this platform is not intended for the use of anyone under the age of 16 and will never ‘intentionally’ collect a child’s data, but remember – Among Us does not use effective age verification mechanisms

  • The game offers several in-app purchasing options, such as paying to remove advertising and buying different skins, hats, and pets. We would always recommend disabling in-app purchasing

  • For more information on staying safe, be sure to check out our Among Us resources on our Safety Centre

Future Updates

Innersloth have also announced several updates they are working on for the future, including: 

  • The introduction of a friend system for players
  • The ability to send and receive gifts between users

  • Account linking between devices
  • An expansion to PS4, PS5, and Xbox gaming consoles 

Our online safety experts will be keeping an eye on these potential future features. 

For more guidance on keeping children and young people safe online, check out the Safeguarding Hub, where you will find lots of free resources for staying safe on various platforms.  

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