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Streaming Is Even More Dangerous Than You Realized

What could be safer than streaming? Generally speaking, streamers spend a huge portion of their work day sitting in front of the computer, playing games and talking to their viewers. Most streamers either work from home, or get to choose when and where they're going to do their jobs. Despite the perks of the job, streaming is filled with secret dangers that can entirely disrupt someone's daily life.

Anyone who makes a habit of watching streams has probably seen an accident or two occur live. A stray Switch controller can punch through a screen, or the family dog can hit a streamer so hard she has to end her livestream early. Most streaming dangers are at least a little funny from the outside, but streamers also run the risk of obsessive fans tracking them down, trolls swatting their homes on a daily basis, and serious health conditions materializing out of hours spent sitting at a computer desk.

Streamers are incredibly lucky to do what they do, but their careers often come with a cost. Before you write off streaming as an easy gig, find out why it's so much more dangerous than you ever realized.

VR dangers

It will probably surprise no one that some of the most destructive accidents that have happened on stream have been VR related. The safest way to enjoy VR involves more prep time than most gamers are used to. Players need to carefully clear out their space and even more carefully map the room they have available in VR. Even in the best circumstances, a wild swing or an uncalculated step can send someone crashing into a wall.

VR related accidents and injuries are so common that the Wall Street Journal even published a report in February 2022 documenting how widespread they'd become. Some VR gamers were ending up hospitalized after slamming their limbs into walls, while others simply had to replace a TV.

Every so often gamers get to watch an accident as it unfolds. Italian Twitch streamer Mekise busted his lip open while playing VR for his audience. He'd been attempting to bend over to pick up a key in an escape room styled game when he slammed his face into his fireplace mantel. Mekise's viewers weren't able to warn him in time, but they were able to commiserate about the pain.

Cooking accidents

Streaming can occasionally make a relatively harmless task a more dangerous proposition. Most people make it through weeks and months of cooking their meals without incident, but when you're trying to cook and entertain an audience of hundreds or even thousands, things can quickly get out of hand. Unfortunately, more than one streamer has had to learn that lesson the hard way.

Back in 2021 Pokimane and LilyPichu hosted a small cooking show with their friend Michael Reeves that didn't turn out exactly as planned (via Twitch). Pokimane and LilyPichu provided commentary while Michael did his best to bake a cake. He made all the way to the end of the process before accidentally dropping the pan onto the fresh cake, smashing it to bits.

Cooking on a live stream isn't just dangerous for the food, though. It can also put a streamer's kitchen and even their entire home at risk. Kjanecaron wanted to entertain her fans while cooking dinner, and she definitely accomplished that goal, but not in the way she intended. A little ways into the stream, her frying pan caught fire. Panicking, she made the situation even worse by sticking the pan under her faucet. Eventually the flames died down and neither Kjanecaron nor her kitchen were hurt by the accident, but the situation highlights why cooking on camera is better left to professionals.

Pets can be dangerous, too

Pets make great streaming companions, except when they don't. Just about every pet owner knows that for all the love and comfort animals provide, they're just as likely to cause some accident or injury as any ill-conceived VR game. Unsurprisingly, there have been plenty of times where a streamer had their evening entirely disrupted by an unruly animal. https://wp.looper.com/submissions/gallery.php?id=283159#

Streamer SaraKate suffered a particularly hard-to-watch injury back in 2015. She was playing "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" while her loving cat perched itself on the back of her gaming chair. In between games, SaraKate leaned back for a kiss, but her cat wasn't feeling the love and scratched her right in the eye. For a horrifying moment, viewers could see blood pouring from SaraKate's eye before she stepped away from the stream. SaraKate ended up being fine, and in a later Q&A video she said that the scratch incident was one of her most memorable streaming moments. 

Even if they aren't scary, some pet related accidents can totally ruin someone's night. Twitch streamer traveldanielle was trying to have an enjoyable night with her fans when her dog decided to literally jump into the mix. In his enthusiasm to jump onto her lap, traveldanielle's dog smacked his head into her jaw so forcefully she had to cancel the rest of the stream. Like SaraKate, traveldanielle wasn't seriously injured, but both situations serve as cautionary tales for other pet-friendly streamers. 

Your equipment is in danger, too

Streaming also puts a gamer's entire setup at risk. Though this can usually be chalked up to user error, there are times when entire games seem like they're designed around getting gamers to make a dangerous mistake. "Nintendo Switch Sports" started causing injuries and accidents almost the moment it was released. Twitch streamer 63man sent his controller flying through his monitor after trying to play tennis without the wrist strap attached.

When it's not a game causing a streamer to break something important, it's often one of their friends. Miekki is a streamer who knows how to build a PC, and he was trying to walk his friend and fellow streamer Minxkittyy through the process remotely (via Twitch). Unfortunately, Miekki's directions didn't come across clearly enough, and Minxkitty shattered her PC's glass side panel trying to remove it. Luckily she wasn't hurt in the process, and as far as computer parts go, a side panel isn't terribly expensive to replace.

There are also times when a streamer has no one to blame for a broken PC but themselves. The award for most hilarious self-inflicted catastrophe has to go to lukeafkfan, who managed to completely destroy his PC in less than a second. His house was decorated for Christmas, and one of his viewers suggested he try to hit a plastic reindeer with a golf ball. For reasons we'll never understand, lukeafkfan agreed and moments later sent the ball soaring through his PC.

Accidental trespassing

The dangers of streaming aren't always limited to an office or a living room. When streamers decide to take their channels out into the real world, anything can happen, and the stakes are sometimes higher than a broken monitor or a bashed head. There's a good reason why streamers like Emiru are scared of IRL streams

In August 2022, Twitch streamer thatirishgirlro was taking a trip to Texas with her friends, and, not wanting to abandon her audience, she decided to live stream as much of the trip as possible (via Twitch). The group went paddle boarding without a guide, and they received a warm Texas welcome after stopping for a break on what turned out to be a privately owned dock. The owner didn't have any patience for thatirishgirlro or her friends trying to explain their mistake, and  he didn't appreciate them filming the interaction. He informed them that according to Texas law he had every right to shoot them, and the group quickly made their way off his land. 

Don't stream and drive

People can stream while gaming, cooking, or traveling with their friends, but if there's one activity that no one should stream during, it's driving. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, not every streamer out there is willing to acknowledge the dangers of running a stream while hitting the road, and from time to time that lack of acknowledgement has led to catastrophe.

Kooncoon was a Korean streamer known for making "ArcheAge" content until he decided to step away from streaming in 2021. Kooncoon's driving mishap in January 2021 wasn't the reason that he finally left streaming, but it certainly didn't do anything to convince him to keep doing it, either. He decided to take his viewers out for a spin, and he was driving fast and somewhat recklessly even for someone not communicating with an audience on a tablet. Eventually, he slammed the side of his car into a guardrail. Kooncoon wasn't physically injured, but his pride likely took a hit.

In another instance, a streamer called Rellik accidentally broadcast a disturbing accident to his audience (via GameRant). While out for a drive on stream, Rellik's camera caught an SUV driving straight into a deer. The people in the car weren't injured, and Rellik was even able to offer them a link to his video for them to give to their insurance provider, but it's something that Rellik's viewers aren't going to be able to get out of their heads for a while.

Lost at sea

It really doesn't take much for an IRL stream to transform from a fun adventure to an outright horror story. Back in June 2022, Dexerto reported on one of the most shocking incidents of an IRL stream gone wrong that Twitch has ever seen. The story concerns a Twitch account called Awkward_Travel, which is run by a couple named Tallulah and Gaspard.

The Awkward_Travel duo bought a sailboat in May and planned to use it, not just for travel, but also to create some of the most unique streaming content out there. They spent more than a month sailing the Mediterranean Sea, and their audience loved every minute of the journey. Then, 46 days into their big trip, the ship's engine failed, and the couple was lost at sea. With waves crashing in and a rescue ship still on its way, Awkward_Travel cut off their usual stream early, leaving their audience in the dark.

Luckily, everything turned out fine. Once back on land, the couple told their fans via Twitter, "Thanks to our sailing skills we stayed safe while the tug boat came." What's maybe even more incredible than the engine failure story is that it didn't dissuade Awkward_Travel from exploring the open water. Tallulah and Gaspard have since repaired the boat and gotten back out to sea for more adventures.

Swatting is a real problem

Trolls and pranksters have always been a problem online, and streamers, with their boisterous personalities and large audiences, tend to make easy targets for the worst parts of the internet. Swatting is one of the most dangerous pranks that originated online, and it has continually disrupted the lives of more than a handful of streamers. Swatting involves reporting a fake crime at a streamer's address to try and get armed officers to break into their home and disrupt a stream.

In August 2022 The Washington Post reported that swatting has been around for over a decade, and it even resulted in the death of "Call of Duty" player Andrew Finch back in 2017. Now it's used to harass streamers, and it's become such a regular practice that some Twitch stars like Adin Ross, Nadia Amine, and IShowSpeed have had it happen to them while they were live on the platform.

xQc made headlines when he admitted that he had to move because his home was being swatted on a regular basis. The frequent incidents  Opening up about the swatting actually caused more problems, as not long after a man broke into xQc's home, leaving him at a loss for how to stay safe.

Streaming stalkers

Swatting isn't the only real-life threat that streamers contend with. Being a streamer means having a ton of your personal information available online, and even though most streamers take steps to maintain some of their privacy, there's no guarantee that details like their home address can be kept safe. Add to that the very intimate connection between streamers and their audience, and it's no wonder that streamers frequently become stalking victims.

Amouranth told her fans a harrowing story about a stalker who traveled to her town all the way from Estonia in an attempt to track her down. All the while the stalker made regular posts about his journey, even claiming that he'd sold everything he owned in order to have the money to find Amouranth. She was understandably shaken, writing, "I have a security system, a pew pew device, and lately I have had an armed employee living in the guest quarters." Police knew about the situation, but that did little to dissuade Amouranth's fears.

Sadly, Amouranth's story isn't exactly an outlier. In July 2022 The New York Times published a report about how frequently large streaming personalities, most often women, are targeted by stalkers. Streamers often discover that police won't get involved until a break-in or some other form of physical harm has occurred. Some streamers openly discuss their stalkers, while others think that talking about the problem only encourages more stalking and harassment. For now, stalking is an industry-wide problem with no clear solution. 

Even relaxed streaming causes injuries

We've seen that the dangers of streaming run the gamut from kitchen fires to vehicular accidents to the worst kinds of real-life harassment from viewers. While those might be the most eye-catching stories about how streaming can impact a person's life, the one danger that every single streamer faces is much more mundane, and much less likely to be noticed until some real damage has been done.

From competitive gamers to variety streamers, physical therapist Dr. Caitlin McGee told Wired that she regularly sees "the same general category of repetitive stress injuries or chronic overuse injuries" in her patients. Streaming involves being at the computer eight or more hours a day, and most people spend that time sitting in a chair, typing, clicking, or otherwise button mashing their way through games and audience interactions.

Dr. McGee says that the most common streaming-related injury is tendonopathy, which is limited mobility in arm tendons that can be the result of built-up scar tissue. Along with those, she said, "The other group of injuries we see a lot of is posture-related stuff." The human body really isn't built to sit at a desk for hours on end, and that's something just about every streamer in the world does day after day. Without proper care, like regular breaks and careful stretches, there isn't a single streamer who can avoid hurting themselves in one way or another. It might look easy from the outside, but just like any job, streaming has its dangers.