Majority of Parents Surveyed Talk to Their Kids About the Risks of Online Games, But It’s Not Enough

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 10:23 am

A recent survey showed what parents think about online gaming.

Cybersecurity company McAfee (you may know it for its VirusScan software) took a look at how parents manage their kids’ video game playtime.

McAfee released the results of its recent survey of 5,000 parents of children aged 6 to 16 who play videos games in Australia, Germany, Singapore, the U.S., and the U.K. The survey showed 94 percent of parents are concerned about the risks their kids may be exposed to while playing video games online, such as encountering inappropriate content or coming into contact with nefarious individuals, like sexual predators and cyberbullies.

Even with these concerns, 92 percent of parents said they let their kids play video games at least one hour per day. The survey showed 62 percent of kids play games online that allow them to interact directly with other players (think voice chat in a game like Fortnite), which opens them up to potentially encounter the inappropriate content parents are concerned with.

McAfee’s survey found 77 percent of parents talk to their kids about the risk of playing games online. While this the majority of respondents have these conversations with their kids, there’s still room for improvement. In the survey, 9 percent of parents admitted they don’t monitor the games their kids play “at all” and 6 percent said they don’t talk to their kids about what appropriate behavior looks like. Finally, 44 percent of parents said they let their kids play games even if they’re younger than the suggested age rating.

It’s true that some mature kids may be able to handle content in violent video games even if they’re younger than 13 or 18 (for T- and M-rated games, respectively), but that’s an educated decision that parents should make on a per-child basis.

Thankfully, the parents who are paying attention to their kids’ playtime outnumber those who aren’t, and it’s never too late for parents to join those who have an interest in their kids’ hobbies. A recent survey from the Entertainment Software Association (an organization that represents video game companies) showed 67 percent of parents play video games with their kids at least once per week, and 70 percent of parents said video games have a positive influence on their kids’ lives.

If you’re looking for ways to keep your kids safe while playing games online (without ruining the fun), check out our guide.

Top image © Syda Productions / Adobe Stock

Brandy Berthelson

Brandy Berthelson has been writing about video games and technology since 2006, with her work appearing on sites including AOL Games, Digital Spy, and Adweek. When she’s not gaming, Brandy enjoys crafting, baking, and traveling with her husband.

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