According 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?