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Research: majority of parents control child’s in-game spending


New research by Ipsos in the UK, France, Germany and Spain shows that around 2 in 5 parents of gaming children indicate that their child spends money in-game. The vast majority (8 in 10) of those parents have an agreement of some kind with the child:

  • The child must ask for permission before each purchase (60% of respondents)
  • Parents and children have agreed on a weekly or monthly spending limit (31%)
  • Parents use parental control tools on the gaming device to monitor and limit spending (28%)
  • Parents monitor spending via their credit card bills (25%)
  • Spending is only possible with pre-paid value cards (20%)
  • 2% of parents do not monitor their child's spending

Ipsos also asked about the reasons for not using parental control tools, which offer parents a plethora of options to monitor and control various aspects of their child's gaming (time, age limit, social interaction, online access and spending): 43% stated that the control tools were not necessary, as there is another sort of agreement in place between the parent and the child, while 32% was aware of them but had not set them up. Around 17% of respondents was not aware that controlling the in-game spending was possible with parental control tools, and another 17% of people found them too difficult to activate.

Video Games Europe welcomes the findings in the survey as it shows that the vast majority, 80%, of parents have a dialogue with their child on in-game spending and monitor their spending. The survey also reveals that awareness around the use of, and the functioning of parental control tools is low. The video games sector has put in place sophisticated and efficient parental control tools that allow parents to protect their children's privacy and online safety, available on all devices and platforms. These allow parents to set age ratings, time limits, online spending and online interaction. To address this lack of awareness and in support on a safe online experience, Video Games Europe and its national trade associations will, on a territory by territory basis, roll out information campaigns on the importance of parental controls and how these can be activated.

More details on the research can be found in the PDF download below.

Methodology: The fieldwork for this survey was conducted in May 2018 by Ipsos in the UK, France, Germany and Spain. All respondents are parents of a child aged up to 15 years old who plays games. Data were weighted using GameTrack measurements to be representative of the population on three attributes: demographics (age/gender), household composition (age of children) and whether the parent responding to the survey is a gamer themselves.