The usual mass media suspects (The Sun
, ITN, Metro
, Sky News, The Daily Telegraph
) are all reporting the results of a Microsoft poll of Europe which includes the statistic: "76% of British parents were worried about the content of games."
The mainstream media are reporting variations on:
"Parents' video games fear"
With the use of 'fear' or 'worry' in headlines - the actual quote used by the pollster was probably not needed to achieve the required level of fear. Here it is:
"In fact, seven out of ten parents (71%) expressed concern over the content of video games, with the highest level of concern being in Italy (83%) and the UK (76%)."
The bolding is ours. Now, to us, there is a meaningful difference between 'concern', 'worry' and 'fear. If something concerns you, it involves you and is of importance to you. If something worries you, it perturbs and introduces anxiety. As for fear - need we say more.
Frankly, SPOnG thinks that 100% of parents should be concerned
with what their kids are experiencing.
What the mainstream also neglected to mention was:
"Most video games are played in a controllable environment with the majority of children playing by themselves (64%). Video games also provide a great social platform for many children with nearly a third playing with friends (32%) and family (32%)."
This is possibly because a headline like: "Kids Play Video Games In Controllable Environments" is not scary enough.
The Poll - part of Microsoft's 'Play Smart, Play Safe Index' - covered 4,000 parents in the UK, France, Germany and Italy.
Before we go on bear in mind that the questions were not stated in the coverage nor in Microsoft's press release covering the results. We have contacted Microsoft for the exact wording.
There is, of course, going to be a different reaction to:
"In the light of US and German school shootings, are you terrified of video game content?"
"In the light of Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgepig going to brain-training at the Olympics with Nintendogs are you comfortable with the content of video games?"
We're not saying the questions were couched in either way. We are saying that, according to Microsoft, "The poll is part of Microsoft’s Play Smart, Play Safe parent education programme to empower and inform parents and other stakeholders on how to best deliver a fun, safe and balanced gaming experience for children of all ages", so there is going to be a bias.
On the other side, the mainstream media only gets a video game-related story when there's a scare involved.
Anyway, the available results:
76% of British parents expressed concern about the content of games.
83% of Italian parents expressed concern about the content of games.
44% of all polled parents said their children should only play video games for up to an hour a day.
10% of kids played video games with their parents.
12% played video games with their friends.
60% say that they are sufficiently informed about the built-in functions on game consoles or operating systems to control their child’s access.
66% of parents look to themselves when deciding on which games are most suitable for their children.
21% decided that their children were influential in deciding the types of games they play.
21% thought that video game manufacturers were influential in deciding the types of games children play.
18% thought that the government was influential in deciding the types of games children play.
We await the full wording and research from the nice people at Microsoft.
Opinions in the Forum please.