Two-thirds of parents not checking age ratings of games, survey suggests

Two-thirds of parents are not checking the age ratings of computer games, new research suggests.

In a survey of 14,994 children, only 33% said their parents ensure they are playing age-appropriate games.

As more young people turn to gaming as a means of entertainment during lockdown, online safety organisation Internet Matters is warning guardians to check PEGI ratings to avoid mental dangers.

Adults are also urged to be mindful of grooming through socially connected games, cyberbullying and in extreme cases, gaming addiction.

“Gaming can be great for kids as it allows them to engage and interact with family and friends,” said Internet Matters ambassador Dr Linda Papadopoulos.

“It gives them a chance to have fun, get creative, build confidence and feel challenged.

“But it’s essential they are playing age-appropriate games because if they’re engaging in things they’re not emotionally ready for, it can have long-term effects on their wellbeing.

“Parents need to be on top of what games they’re playing and be clear of any potential risks – i.e. do they have a social media element, or can they talk to strangers?

“Observing age-ratings, setting clear boundaries and having regular conversations is key to preventing risks which range from unwanted contact to addiction.”

The survey – carried out by Internet Matters and Youthworks Consulting – comes as the organisation releases a new guide for parents on how to get a grip on gaming.

Chief executive Carolyn Bunting said it might help if grown-ups find time to game with their children.

“The lockdown period may provide an opportunity for parents to sit down with their children and help them get to grips with gaming and help them take advantage of the many opportunities it offers,” she said.

“Start playing age-appropriate games where you can as a family, this will allow you to feel more comfortable about gaming so that you can slowly give your child more freedom to play on their own.

“If your child is already a gamer – use the opportunity to have honest and open conversations about their gaming world.”

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