Australian gamers are on edge today, waiting (im)patiently to find out if they’ll be getting an R18+ rating for Christmas. One of the primary arguments for the cause is that it will keep parents better informed about what their children play – and this is a theme picked up by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (iGEA).
They’ve recently released a series of videos designed to help people (not just parents!) set up Parental Controls on the most popular consoles – and even the PC. While they’ve mainly been prepared for an audience based in Australia and New Zealand, the information they contain is useful for gamers around the world.
The series of five videos are hosted by iGEA ambassador and sports presenter Stephanie Brantz, as well as Auckland journalist Kate Palmer. Both have three children who play games, and both have experimented with various ways to make sure their kids have healthy gaming habits.
Brantz explains that a key issue for her is not just making sure the kids are palying “age appropriate” games, but making sure they’re playing them for the right amount of time – not hours and hours at a stretch. She continues:
“The parental control features in these devices are a fantastic tool to help parents balance the amount of time children spend playing video games and other activities. Parents can also use the password-protected controls to ensure their child only has access to age-appropriate games, whether it’s rated G, PG, M or MA15+.”
The videos are in response to a 2009 study commissioned by iGEA, which surveyed 535 adults (with dependent children aged up to 17 living in their household) about the gaming habits of young people. Many Australian parents, it was revealed, did not know about the parental control system built into popular gaming consoles.
Ron Curry, iGEA CEO, has some more numbers:
“Only 26 per cent of parents were aware of controls within most consoles to help manage the amount of time their children spent playing games. A further 49 per cent of parents were also not aware of classification locks.
“As interactive games are a popular past-time for the entire family, and particularly in the lead up to Christmas, we wanted to develop a series of videos to help raise the awareness of parental control tools amongst parents to give them the confidence to manage the game play in their house.”
iGEA has five key tips for parents to help them manage their child’s gaming habits:
- Play with your children
- Put the gaming console in a common area – like the lounge room
- Check gaming classifications
- Set a time limit
- Set up parental controls