Mining for Gold & Silver: The Search for Diverse Kid/Family-Friendly Game Streamers

White male child laying on a bed on his stomach with his feet in the air holding a tablet with headphones on.
White male child laying on a bed on his stomach with his feet in the air holding a tablet with headphones on. Photo by Emily Wade on Unsplash

During the 2020–21 winter break our 7- and 5- year olds developed an obsession with watching game streamers on YouTube: it started out with a little Mario and Plants vs. Zombies but has transitioned almost completely to Minecraft and Pokémon, with a little Roblox and Among Us thrown in for variety here and there.

But right off the bat, it became immediately troubling to me that the streamers my boys watched were exclusively white men and the algorithm kept only suggesting other white men to them.

We needed to diversify this situation stat before it became too ingrained that gaming is only a thing for white boys — which my boys are. So, I went searching for recommendations for diverse kid-friendly streamers only to come up almost totally empty handed. All the lists out there, even the ones put out by well-respected groups like Common Sense Media, were made up of almost exclusively white men and we couldn’t find anything highlighting more diverse kid-friendly streamers.

There are websites and groups who highlight and focus on BIPOC, Womxn, LGBTQIA+, and Disabled/Neurodiverse streamers but these are geared towards adults — and while it is possible that some of those folx highlighted may also stream kid-friendly content, it’s impossible to tell without going through their content, which I don’t have the time or frankly inclination to do — and since most don’t, the answer is usually no.

So my husband and I started trawling Google, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and also reaching out to gamer friends and others to ask for recommendations to build a personal list of more diverse gamers who stream kid/family content on YouTube to switch up what our boys were watching.

We promised to share what we had found. We initially shared it just with a small group of friends and facebook connections earlier in the year, but I recently decided to make it more broadly available in the hopes it could help others have the place to start that we didn’t have when we began this journey.

So here is what we have so far. Please share additional suggestions or notes on the people listed in the comments. I may add updates.

I want to give a number of caveats and notes on this list:

1. I am cis het straight white woman who has zero history with gaming and streaming so I’m a poor judge on most fronts.

2. As I said I am not a gamer and am new to this so I struggle with what is truly “kid-friendly” — so I’m mostly listening for swearing and demeaning and rude language, violent content, and the kind of exchanges between players that I just don’t think is kind. I haven’t done any research on this. And I’m honestly only half listening.

3. This is NOT an exhaustive or even correct list. I’ve used what I’ve been able to find from personal “about pages”, wiki profiles, recommendation descriptions, and my best guess. For some of these profiles there is limited information. There may be folx on here who shouldn’t be either because they don’t belong in or to these groups or because their content is not actually family friendly.

4. Obviously, categorizing people by race/ethnicity/gender/sexual orientation/disability that is externally perceived by a cis het white woman is inherently complicated and problematic. I need to name that while at the same time time doing it. I’m actively trying to decolonize the media my children consume and am committed to sharing as I go and I am absolutely open to critique and finding the best way to do it. When looking up folx online I tried to use their own descriptors of themselves as much as possible.

5. This is NOT a list of recommendations. Just a list of options to check out. I have only lightly checked out a few of them and we are still working our way down the list. I do share with a ❤️ the ones which are my kiddos’ favorites so far but that’s just our way of keeping track.

6. None of this is original research — This is a compilation of the work of others and I have provided some of the sources at the bottom. All of this has come from recommendations we’ve seen on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook threads, or from personal recommendations from friends and contacts we have reached out to, many of whom are members of these communities.

7. I’ve only included streamers who have YouTube channels as we don’t have Twitch or Discord or any of the other streaming platforms.

8. This list is VERY Minecraft heavy because that is what my kids are super into. It also seems to be the most common family friendly streamer content I’ve encountered in the search — I’m sure there are others but I didn’t go looking too hard. Seems like Roblox is the new hotness but we aren’t deep in there…yet.

Legend

This is who my kids (7 and 5) have liked:

❤️❤️ who they have tried and loved

❤️ who they have tried and liked

  • ❤️❤️ MC Naveed (British South Asian(?) man, Minecraft)
  • ❤️❤️ Aphmau (woman of Color, Minecraft)
  • ❤️❤️ Jaiden Animations (Japanese American woman, Pokemon and slice of life animations a lot about pets)
  • ❤️ GamingwithKev (Black man, Mostly Roblox, some Super Mario)
  • ❤️ BigBst4tz22 (Black man, Minecraft, he has another channel but this is his family friendly channel)
  • ❤️ Data Dave (Black man, Pokemon playthroughs)
  • ❤️ IHasCupQuake (Latinx woman, all kinds of games, Minecraft)
  • ❤️ Pokimane (Moroccan Canadian woman, Minecraft, Fortnite, League of Legends)
  • BlackNerdGames: (Black man, SuperMario and others)
  • ZaiLetsPlay (Latinx woman, Roblox games like Adopt Me, Bloxburg, Royale High and sometimes Minecraft and Sims):
  • Biggs87x (maybe kid friendly — British BIPOC man, married to Zai, Minecraft and 2nd channel for other games):

- Content/games maybe more appropriate for older kids -

  • Maricraft/Smosh Games (Japanese American woman, Minecraft player maybe for older crowd)
  • Markiplier (Asian/mixed heritage man, sounds like he is for the older 12+ crowd)
  • Vanoss (Korean/Chinese/Canadian man, lots of games, very popular — Mostly for older kids but some Minecraft):

Doing more research on this and reached out to some folks

Doing more research on this and reached out to some folks

  • ❤️ GoodTimesWithScar (wheelchair user with neuromuscular disease, very popular, Minecraft)

Content/games maybe more appropriate for older kids -

  • Uncanny Vivek (mostly accessibility reviews of games for older kids, looks like he streams on discord too)

https://ablegamers.org/category/ablegamers-blog/

I’m gonna be honest here. Most of my kids’ streaming content is still dominated by white men who yell all the time. But this work to decolonize has added more womxn and people of color into the mix. They also yell a lot. Apparently yelling a lot is just a big part of this streaming gig. I’m not loving it since during this panini we are often all cooped up in one room together. So I’m not gonna “smash that subscribe button” — but my boys love it and if this is what they need to feel happy and normal right now then this is what we are doing.

What I need is for them to not come out of this believing that gaming and streaming is only for white people, especially white boys. I may not be a gamer but I saw what GamerGate did to the womxn I knew who are and I am a long time follower and fan of Anita Sarkeesian and Feminist Frequency and there is no way I am going to raise boys who are going to perpetuate that kind of garbage in this world.

Many many thanks to our friends, Danielle Slaughter of Mamademics, and everyone else on the interweb socials and forums who helped us with recommendations and ideas for where to go looking.

…The Journey Continues!

Hannah is an Innovator, Instigator, Advocate, Mobilizer, Proud Feminist, and Fierce Mama on a lifelong Personal, Political, and Parenting Anti-Racist Journey