Safer Internet Day – Time to check your tools

06
Feb

Contributed by Ron Curry, CEO IGEA

 

With most people playing games together online, Safer Internet Day provides a timely reminder for the industry to showcase the suite of tools available to parents, carers and players to ensure a positive experience for the millions of people who love to play games.

Our recent Australia Plays Survey showed that around 81% of Australians are gamers, with the average gamer playing for over 11 years. The dominant age group playing video games is adults between the ages of 18 and 64. Of all Australians who play video games, 48% are female, with an increasing number in the 55+ age group. As a result of these broad demographics, the tools we need are now for more than just parents looking to protect their children, although this is still significantly important. Active players are also looking to educate themselves about the tools they can use and actions they can take to ensure their hobby is a safe, respectful and enjoyable experience.

Research consistently shows that playing games connects people and people play games to be connected. The games industry is cognisant of designing and developing online products, services, devices and platforms, prioritising safe and secure user connections. The benefits of playing games for connection became abundantly clear during the pandemic, and many parents play games to connect with their children. 91% of parents who responded to the Australia Plays survey said they often play to connect as a family. Picking up the controller and playing video games with your kids can help you understand what your children enjoy and inform you of what is involved in the games they play. Games can help you start a conversation and are a chance to spend quality time together.

Safer Internet Day can be a day of reflection for gamers to consider how they can maximise their game play experience.  Do they need to adjust settings to make their experiences more enjoyable, or should they take stock of their behaviour and ask themselves if they contribute to a safe and fun place for others?

The video game industry empowers players with the tools to take control of their gameplay experiences.

In conjunction with our partners, IGEA has created a Trust and Safety hub.  The hub is a resource that provides holistic advice for parents and players to stay safe and continue enjoying online experiences whilst also honing in on the tools available on a specific device or platform.

Aside from IGEA’s Trust and Safety Hub, each platform and device offers specific tools and advice to help manage your gameplay experience. For example, Microsoft has released the Xbox Gaming Safety Toolkit, which provides carers with an overview of common safety risks and practical advice for responding to potential issues and enhancing children’s safety in a digital world.

Much like we’re reminded to check the smoke alarms in houses twice a year, Safer Internet Day serves as a reminder to review the tools available to you and your families to help you have a fun gaming experience. When our online and digital habits form such a big part of our lives, it is essential to remind ourselves of the ways to make our experiences safer and more enjoyable.

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