UNICEF Report highlights positive steps taken by video games industry on child safety
Following the release of a report by UNICEF, “Recommendations for the Online Gaming Industry on Assessing Impact on Children”, the European video games industry affirms its position to ensure that video game experiences are positive, safe and healthy, particularly for children, and welcomes the inclusion of so many of the steps it is already taking in the report.
“Video games bring enormous benefits to society and players of all ages and we are pleased to see UNICEF’s recognition that online games give children the chance to learn, to collaborate with others, to connect with friends around the world, and simply have fun, while having the best interest of the child in focus. We share UNICEF’s goals with respect to the important issue of child safety and commit to keep on working to ensure our games and communities are safe, enjoyable, positive experiences for all."Simon Little, CEO of Video Games Europe
Ensuring that content is age-appropriate through the ratings process, guidance on the use of parental controls for parents and carers to moderate time or spend in game, codes of conduct, diversity of content, anti-toxicity programmes, collaboration with law enforcement and the incentivising of positive player behaviour are just some of the many actions highlighted by UNICEF in their report that the industry is already taking.
Simon Little added:
“As an industry, our attention to the protection of minors is in our DNA. Europe’s video games companies constantly strive to enable our young players to enjoy their games in a safe environment thanks to parental controls on games and consoles and the Pan European Gaming Information system (PEGI) used in 38 countries around Europe."
The constantly-modernised PEGI age rating and content descriptors are best-in-class examples of co- and self-regulation that enable measures for the protection of minors to keep step with fast-moving industry and game developments.
In an ever-evolving online environment, it is key that parents establish a dialogue with their children and take an interest in their online activity and the video games industry takes measures to actively encourage and facilitate that. Industry research also shows that families that play together and/or take the time to discuss video game play with their children have the healthiest relationship with video game playing, see the greatest rewards from play and have the fewest arguments about play time.
Some of the many responsible gameplay features adopted by all Video Games Europe members include PEGI age-ratings and content descriptors, and parental controls that allow a parent to set time limits, in-game spending limits or blocks, privacy settings and age-filtering for video games and online content.