Do parents have a say in the games children play?

December 4, 2007 // 10:46 a.m.

Tags: #360 #december #games #live #microsoft #parents #play #safe #smart #update #video #violent #xbox

Microsoft today released the results of an 'independent' survey into parents' attitudes on video gaming. The results may surprise you; there's nary a reference to “GTA made my son a cold-blooded killer” but plenty of “concerns” and “worries.”

A poll of 4,000 parents in the UK, Germany, Italy, and France yielded results that are being spun in more directions than your average speed-camera report; the BBC is leading the way with “Games content 'concerns parents'”, whereas the official Microsoft stance is a rather more reassuring “Parents in Control of Children's Gaming Habits”.

The winner of the UK Worry-Wart Award has to go to the Telegraph, however: “Video games content worries parents, says survey” is a master-stroke of pot-stirring.

A few choice figures: 71 percent of those questioned stated 'concern' with the content of video games, with the UK coming second only to Italy in the “think of the children” stakes; 66 percent of parents considered themselves the driving force in deciding whether their doe-eyed dear should shoot hookers in GTA3 compared to only 18 percent who think the government should be the ones to make that judgement, a figure which perhaps shows an apathy toward government-mandated ratings systems such as the BBFC here in the UK. Nearly two-thirds of children allegedly play alone with a third each playing with family and friends – it's not known whether these figures include online play such as via Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network as gaming with friends.

Part of Microsoft's new responsible attitude, the survey is a single facet of the Play Smart, Play Safe programme developed to reassure parents that little Jimmy isn't going to go goggle-eyed. With the December Xbox 360 Update including a Family Timer, which promises to enforce a strict daily or weekly (although not both) time limit on console usage, it's clear that Microsoft is hoping to capture a larger slice of the younger market, possibly hoping to finally wrest that particular crown away from Nintendo.

That said, what would you want to play: Halo 3 or Viva Piñata Party Animals? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

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