Aussie Parents Like Console Locks; Don’t Know They Already Have Them

Aussie Parents Like Console Locks; Don’t Know They Already Have Them

xbox 360 lifestyle familyAccording to an industry survey, the vast majority of Australian parents believe consoles should have mechanisms to limit access for children. Unfortunately, many of those same parents don’t realise this generation’s console already have such features.

The Interactive Gaming & Entertainment Association commissioned Newspoll to survey Australian families with at least one child under the age of 17 about parental control functionality in video game consoles. An overwhelming majority of parents were in favour of such functionality:

* 85% of parents said the parental lock functions would provide a safeguard to prevent their child from playing games with inappropriate content
* 79% of parents said they would use parental lock functions to limit their child’s access based on classification and time settings
* 73% of parents said the parental lock functions would help establish a routine around playing video games

However, only half of those parents surveyed were aware that today’s consoles allow content to be locked based on classification ratings. Worse, only a quarter of parents were aware that consoles have settings to help manage the amount of time their children spent playing games.

The survey is part of an iGEA initiative to educate parents and encourage them to monitor the games their children play. Indeed, 69% of parents said they play games at least occasionally with their children, meaning around a third of parents may not be paying any attention at all.

“Interactive gaming is played by young children, teens, Mums and Dads and as a popular family past-time,” says iGEA boss Ron Curry. “We want to equip parents will the tools to ensure their children enjoy the best gaming experience. All of the popular games platforms have built in controls to help parents ensure that the children are playing games that are suitable for their age. The majority of platforms also have specific tools to help parents manage the amount of time their children spend playing games.”

The iGEA has recruited psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg to help spread the word.

“In a few quick steps, parents can create password-protected profiles for each family member that help balance time spent on gaming and other activities and ensure their children only access age appropriate content,” he says.

I’m interested to hear from any parents out there for your thoughts on this issue. Do you use these parental controls? Are they helpful? Do your children accept and abide by them? Do you feel the console makers – and the industry at large – have done enough to promote their use and existence?


    • Mate, it even states in the manuals that *come* with the consoles how to lock them.

      It’s a simple case of parents note reading the instructions before using the machine.

  • “Worse, only a quarter of parents were aware that consoles have settings to help manage the amount of time their children spent playing games.”

    I’ve never seen time management setting on the ps3.

    • Only the Xbox 360 and Wii have timer settings, whereas all three can lock out content via the classification ratings.

      • Wii has the timer settings? I’ve never looked lol I thought it just had the classification.

        The more you know..

  • I don’t have any parental controls set up on my consoles yet, but in a few years when my son will be old enough to know what he’s doing (instead of copying Dad) I will be for sure.

    That said, I have had to set up parental controls on consoles for friends and family with children.

  • now that people know about the lock which ive known for ages and every other gamer over 18 has to. can we have our R18 rating for gods sake!!!!!!!!!

  • This is the reason why Atkinson’s ‘games are too dangerous for kids’ argument gets its flame from. Soccermums don’t even know how to turn on their VCR on much less navigate through an electronic interface and setting up locks. In the history of me frequenting electronic shops there has not been one instance of the parental lock being featured on ads. I didn’t even know it exists if I didn’t open up every single setting on my PS3. This need to change fast and now.

  • I do agree thats they’re far too obscure and require effort to set up. This goes against the ‘lazy parent letting the machine watch the kids’ demographic that such features are targetted towards

    • Whaa? These features are geared towards responsible parents, not ‘lazy parents’. Obscure and requires too much effort? I’m tipping you haven’t got kids and haven’t tried setting it up..

      Any members of the ‘lazy parent letting the machine watch the kids’ demographic needs to be castrated immediately.

      • I disagree, responsible parents teach their kids responsibility, respect etc and what they are and aren’t allowed to play.

        I don’t have a console however with PC games I’ve always personally judged every game that enters the household. While the classification board ratings may inform my decision, I make the call based upon my research / experience with a game’s content as to whether it is appropriate for my son. He’s told what I’ve based my decision on in a number of cases and while he doesn’t always like or agree with the decision he does respect and abide by it.

        If he goes to a friend’s place I have the confidence that he won’t play a game which he knows I do not or may not approve of (presently all M & MA title require my review). I don’t rely on his friend’s parents having set up parental controls on their consoles.

        This is much better approach than essentially deferring my responsibility as a parent to the classification board who have a somewhat erratic level of consistency in their decision making.

        • holy cow? you really think he doesn’t play those games when he goes to his friend’s place?

          in fact, he probably should.

          • Yes. And no, it’s not out of some gullible wishful thinking – it’s based upon the relationship I’ve built with him.

            Thank you for your insightful judgement, considering you have no idea how old my son is yet appear to encourage his exposure to any and all MA15+ games, and to lie about it. Not a parent or responsible one I’m gathering sharmona.

          • im a parent, fair dinkum! i got pregnant to get me the baby bonus.

            yeh i know, when i was writing it i realised i had just imagined he was 10 or 11 or something. but i had already gone too far, you see. I was compelled to post because it would get a rise out of you. in short, i be trolling.

  • I sent an email to Atkinson’s office after that last letter he sent out contained some inaccuracies about “how children can be stopped from using these games once the games are in the home”.

    I pointed out these very features that exist in all consoles on the market today already. I got a form response asking for a mailing address that replies can be sent to a few weeks later, and I replied with my postal address, so I’ll see if I get a response from that.

    I doubt it, though…

    • I think that you will probably receive the same answer as me seeing as how the letters that are sent are mostly copy and paste. “If adults think they can devise a lock out system to defeat children, tell ’em they’re dreaming”

      I recently set up the parental lock on the xbox 360 because we have some children of relatives coming to stay soon although I think only one of them can even use a disc properly. Basically it’s like a 4 digit combination lock except with specific buttons on the controller instead of numbers, people use such locks on cupboards of chemicals to prevent fatal imbibing by children I don’t see why it’s not suitable for preventing exposure to inappropriate media. Do most households even lock-up their alcohol? that’s far more of a threat to social stability.

  • Locks are good as a fall back option but more so it’s simply a matter of being a responsible parent.

    I have 7 and an 8 year old boys and I always overhear they’re friends are asking them to put on a variety of “my” games when they are playing because they are allowed to play them at home and without fail they say “no we’re not allowed”. They don’t ask me, they already know.

    My boys love their games as much as me and when they see the <> bag, after asking what’s in the bag, the next question I am asked is always “are we allowed to play it?”.

    I am always upfront with them at the time I bring a game into the home, they know all the games we have and they know which ones they are and importantly are not allowed to play.

    They know PG and G are fine just as they know when they see a red MA15+ it’s always a NO (and an ass woopin if I see them even looking at it) They also know that a blue M15 is on a case by case basis and its always a lively debate between them and me when it’s a borderline title… 

    I guess my rambling point is that parental locks can work but it doesn’t replace and nor is it as good as monitoring your child’s play and teaching them what’s appropriate and allowed both with content and playtime.

    • Hey looks its a parent taking responsibility for their own actions and children

      Australian of the bloody year imo.

      Sorry to sound gruff mate, kudos to you and your two boys who will no doubt grow up to be well adjusted quality members of society.

    • It’s common sense that they should be responsible for their children’s upbringing, however Atkinson does not believe that parents can be trusted AT ALL. He doesn’t seem to want to budge either because not enough uproar has been generated to expose his narrow-mindedness.

  • What I want is to be able to lock one account but not the other accounts from playing certain games; a feature that would have been super useful when my parents decided my brother wasn’t allowed to play games inappropriate for him.
    Unless I’m doing something wrong…?
    I’ve got a PS3.

  • All it would take is a simple flier handed out with game purchases (corresponding to the console) with instructions on parental locks. Or at the very least have the fliers at the point of sale.
    I think these controls are the best way for half arsed parents to look after their kids, it’s the locked the liquor cabinet of our generation! – also a great way for my girlfriend to make the 360 think I’m 10 years old and lock it with a password.

  • *Shameless Plug*

    Gamers4Croydon is putting pressure on Michael Atkinson, running a candidate against him in the next election. Spread the word, plug shamelessly, and head to!

    */Shameless Plug*

  • Maybe someone should tell this to Michael Atkinson, one of his oft touted arguments being that a R18+ rating would not prevent children accessing the content on a home console.

  • I think parents should play the games with their child to see whether it’s appropriate. My son who is now 14 was never allowed to play violent shooters when he was younger at the age of 10 to 12 only PG games. Then I let him try out and RPG called Oblivion, rated M here in Australia, and I observed him play, and played it myself, he seemed responsible enough, but I monitered him making sure he played responsibly, but he got away with the blood in the game claiming it disappeared after 3 seconds. One game I’ll never dare let him play for the sake of his education and life would be that Warcraft thing, heard to many horror stories of how addictive it is.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!