Under 16? You may soon need to ask your mum for permission to use Steam

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Steam users below the age of 16 could soon require parental permission in order to maintain full access to the platform. Changes to the JavaScript of the platform’s sign-up page were issued last night, with code referring to ‘parental consent dialog’ and ‘parental email’.

The changes are thought to be as a result of changes mandated by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws, which apply to the storage of data by European Union companies, as well as companies whose customers reside in the EU. The laws come into effect tomorrow, by which point all companies need to be GDPR-compliant or face significant fines.

For an idea of the things you might be missing out on (if you’re an EU citizen under the age of 16 who uses Steam) here’s a list of upcoming PC games.

Valve appear to have followed the example set by League of Legends developer Riot Games, who announced recently that GDPR laws meant that account holders under the age of 16 would require “parental permission” to continue playing. The company has made no official announcement, but the JavaScript changes certainly make reference to the need for parental involvement in setting up an account.

Industry expert WickedPlayer494 stated yesterday that Steam users “suspected to be under 16 may be locked out or otherwise have restricted functionality after Friday.” I think it’s relatively fair to say, however, that the impact these changes will have on the wider community will be pretty light (not least because of the number of people who flagrantly lie about their age on online platforms).