Video game trade body Ukie has launched a campaign to encourage more parents and carers to use parental controls, teaming up with ex-footballer Rio Ferdinand.
The organisation wants to raise awareness that everything from screen time to in-game purchases can be monitored and controlled.Yes, it can. If you're prepared to put in the time and effort.
But given so many so-called 'parents' can't be bothered to teach their children to read and write, or use a knife and fork, what are the odds they'll bother with this?
In my experience, many parents both dread and disdain video games. I’ve seen parents at my talks despair at being asked to engage with an Xbox or PlayStation console – it’s a totally alien environment for some, and one they occasionally feel aggressive antipathy for.But simply succumbing to technophobia is not acceptable today.It shouldn't be, but I fear it is...
It’s not enough to wave it away, or just to take notice when the latest moral panic hits the tabloids. We teach our kids to cross the road, to swim and ride a bike, to be wary of strangers – these are considered vital stages in learning to navigate the lived environment. But the digital environment is as much a part of our kids’ lives.Sadly, a lot of people out there have children for the wrong reasons. And will never put one iota of effort needed into this.
I’ve no idea how successful Ukie’s campaign will be. At every talk, I recommend two things: that parents play video games with their kids so they understand what’s going on, and that they visit Ukie’s excellent website AskAbout Games, which has information for parents about new titles. But I often observe expressions of indifference and uncertainty on their faces.I suspect you'd observe that were you trying to get them to toilet train their children, or prevent them from going out at night stabbing other people's children...
It surprises me, a gamer since the late 70s, that in 2020 we’re still having to point out that parental controls exist. But figuring games and games consoles out is not only an important part of parenting, it can actually be a really fun part of being a parent.You're preaching, far too often, to the non-converted. Because this isn't just about games, is it?