Parents voice video game concerns

Parents voice video game concerns

UK parents more aware than US counterparts, research finds

Most parents are concerned about the content of video games played by their children, new research has found.

The Play Smart, Play Safe Index sponsored by Microsoft suggests that 80 per cent of parents are aware of parental controls on gaming platforms, and almost all are aware of age ratings for video games.

However, only half are aware of any video game rating system to help parents decide about the suitability of any particular game.

The survey across four European countries found that two-thirds of parents decide for themselves which games are most suitable for their children.

Around a fifth consider their children 'influential' in deciding the types of games they play, while 21 per cent take heed of video game manufacturers' ratings and 18 per cent consider government guidelines.

But only half of parents feel in control of the amount of time their children spend playing such games.

Most respondents indicated that that one hour of video games a day is the most acceptable limit, and three-quarters would welcome a built-in console or software function to monitor the time their children spend playing video games.

"As a leader in interactive entertainment, Microsoft has a responsibility to provide the information and the technology parents need to deliver a safe gaming experience for their families," said Chris Lewis, vice president of Microsoft in EMEA.

"Microsoft has already made available a Family Timer feature that will let parents set the appropriate amount of gaming and entertainment on the Xbox 360 on a daily or weekly basis."

The research revealed that most video games are played in a controllable environment and can provide a useful social platform for many children.

"It is a fantastic time to be a kid in the digital age, but it is also time for all of us to come together as responsible parents and business leaders to ensure our children are safe as well as challenged and entertained," added Lewis.

"While there is strong awareness of parental controls and video game age ratings, we need to make it easier for parents to adopt these tools and build further awareness through partnerships with key governmental and non-governmental organisations as well as with the gaming and retail industries."