Microsoft's second annual Play Smart, Play Safe campaign survey results are in, with UK parents overwhelmingly agreeing that video games have a beneficial effect on their children and families.
Microsoft's Play Smart, Play Safe study polled children and parents in the UK on different aspects of the parent/child gaming experience. While the poll did reveal that 75% of parents feel that video games can be beneficial to their children and families, some of the other results cause me to question how many of them considered babysitting as one of those benefits. When 69% of children want their parents to be more involved in checking what games they play and 47% saying that their parents check on them either "never" or "not enough", it makes one wonder.
74% of parents feel gaming is educational. Perhaps, but not as educational as Microsoft survey results. We continue.
Parents scores have improved in several areas over last year's survey, most notably in the area of awareness of parental controls (73%) and feeling they are personally responsible for checking age ratings (94%). Of course, looking at the children's numbers above, things still don't quite add up. Add to that the fact that 96% of children are aware of parental controls, with 92% aware of rating systems as opposed to their parents 60%, there's obviously a communication issue happening here. Even with all of the parental awareness, 64% admit they sometimes let their children play games outside of their age range. Tsk.
76% of UK children are playing online games at least once a week, which has 43% of parents understandably worried that their children are interacting with people older than they are online. The fact that 95% of children say they've not encountered anything that worried or frightened them while gaming should calm parents down a bit, until they realize that the number indicates that 5% of children have encountered scary things online.
So what do all of these numbers tell us? Parents are becoming more and more aware of age rating systems and parental controls, but don't seem to be worried about them, despite knowing it's their responsibility to do so. That, and older men and women in the UK aren't doing enough to scare young children in online games.