Survey: Aussie parents unaware of console locks

Newspoll study finds 22 percent of parents believe parental locks can be overridden by their children; majority doesn't even know locks exist.

In Australia, those vociferous against the introduction of an adult rating for video games usually cite the scenario of children somehow getting access to inappropriate content as the reason for their opposition. Conversely, those supporting an R18+ rating argue that all current-generation consoles feature strong parental locks, meaning parents need simply select the appropriate age setting to make sure their kids aren't playing the wrong games. However, those against an adult rating for video games will likely see a recent Newspoll survey as further validation of their views, with the poll finding many Australian parents are unaware of the existence of parental controls.

iGEA's Ron Curry.

A Newspoll study commissioned by the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) found 74 percent of parents surveyed knew nothing of parental locks or their function. The Newspoll research was conducted nationally over a period of three days in November 2009, involving 535 adults with dependent children aged up to 17. The survey found that 34 percent of parents said they weren’t concerned about the type of games played by their children, while 22 percent said they believed their child could override parental locks.

According to iGEA CEO Ron Curry, the study was commissioned to better understand awareness of the parental lock tools amongst parents. “[Video games] are played by young children, teens, mums and dads, and we want to equip parents will the tools to ensure their children enjoy the best gaming experience,” Curry said.

“All of the popular games platforms have built-in controls to help parents ensure that the children are playing games that are suitable for their age. The majority of platforms also have specific tools to help parents manage the amount of time their children spend playing games. We are urging parents to be aware of the settings that can help families ensure healthy gaming habits.”

Despite 74 percent of parents saying they knew nothing of parental locks, 69 percent admitted to playing video games regularly with their children. When questioned how parental locks would affect their playing habits, 85 percent of parents said parental lock functions on consoles would provide them with a safeguard to prevent their children from playing games with inappropriate content.

The findings of the study support claims made by infamous antigame proponent South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson. In a speech to State Parliament in March 2008, Atkinson said: “Proponents for the [R18+] classification say the latest technology allows gaming platforms and computers to be programmed to allow parental locks. Today’s children are far more technologically savvy than their parents. It’s laughable to suggest that they couldn’t find ways around parental locks if R18+ games were in the home.”

Similarly, in a statement to GameSpot AU in January this year, Atkinson said: “Once electronic games are in the home, access to them cannot be policed and the games are easily accessible to children. These days, older children (18-30) are often living in the family home with younger children (under 18). This means games belonging to older children or parents can easily make their way into the hands of those under 18.”

However, Curry believes that just because parents are not aware of parental locks, this does not mean they are not managing access to content within the home.

“The survey revealed that 92 percent of parents said they were aware of the games played in their home,” Curry said. “Parents have been managing restricted content in their homes for 20 years with videos and DVDs. For even longer, they’ve had to manage alcohol and cigarettes. Simply because a parent is unaware of the parental controls offered in a game console does not mean they are not responsibly managing access to content.”

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40 comments
leonard_necula
leonard_necula

The last paragraph pretty much hits the nail on the head. If Parents don't want their children playing R18+ games, they won't buy them. If they do buy them then they obviously either don't care what their child plays or are ignorent to what is in the game, in which case after seeing the child play the game they will be able to judge whether or not to take it back to the shop. It's really not that hard to control these things, i mean has common sense and responsibility completely disappeared with the advent of HD graphics and surround sound? I think the Aussie government really need to wake up to themselves and change their stance on this issue.

thibbledorfP
thibbledorfP

Atkinson is a hypocrite. Once beer or adult movies are in the house, it is not possible to ensure kids don't use these products. So let's ban beer and R18+ DVDs in Australia! Heck, with TV, programs are beamed into your living room while you sleep, some of which may be adult rated. Better ban people from watching TV too. What next? Well, there are some books I don't like... Parents need to be made aware of the censorship options they are being given with consoles, we should educate rather than fear-monger. It is simple to censor game usage in a household level, so kids are not exposed to innapropriate content. The government doesn't need to do it.

Payback7
Payback7

Atkinson is seriously just making silly excuses now. I totally understand the need to protect children from violent/sexual content till they are of age to understand all the consequences and to understand the situations. But for Atkinson to basically say to all ADULTS out there that they can only play games that the classification board deem suitable for CHILDREN is just plain insulting. I'm old enough (late 20's) to decide what games I want to play. They need an R18+ rating - simple. If people actually took responsibility for their own actions and the actions of their children then maybe society would be in alot better situation right now. Everyone blames everything but themselves.

OwnageGuy
OwnageGuy

This atkinson guy...unbelievable. None of his arguments can be backed up by any evidence. I think parents are perfectly able to control gaming in the house.

9thedevilmaycry
9thedevilmaycry

@jamesh-42 look ar the upper left corner, it says a related game is wii sports, mybye he does only play wii sports(i know there are other related games ok)

9thedevilmaycry
9thedevilmaycry

SO THIS IS WHY US ADULT AUSSIE GAMERS GET TREATED LIKE KIDS, IT MAKES US PISSED OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! >:O

mattisgod01
mattisgod01

I think most parents wouldn't have a clue about the features of the console, not just Australian parents. Unless they actaully take an interest in the consoles then how would they?

ballben2002
ballben2002

i'm from Australia and i think the way our government treats gamers is ridiculous. People should be free to make their own decisions if a game is too violent or not. Taking away choices like this is very hypocritical and typical of our current government. As for parents I believe it is their responsibility to control what their child is exposed to not the governments. I believe it is unfair that gamers like myself (im 24) have to suffer because of parents not accepting responsibility for what they expose their kid to and a government that wants to control what Aussies can handle in regards to violence and drug use.

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

perhaps the same could be said for all parents. This article is as pointless as their parents. Children ill need parental control such as those.

Scorchgame
Scorchgame

@etai79 I'm from Australia and I just import things, I never buy from Australia because things are as expensive as gold. Buying from US or HK is very cheap with the advantage of the very high currency of the australian dollar. But yes, I hate the government and the police, because they are all SH!T

Scorchgame
Scorchgame

Not all parents are smart. Wait until the next generation

triple_punse
triple_punse

etai your a spastic. its 1 in 10000 people like this douche atkinson that actually dont want to introduce the 18+. What parents would even know how to use a console for starters.

sdcazares1980
sdcazares1980

Some parents just don't know how to be parents, huh? Sigh.

jamesh-42
jamesh-42

@howardorr: that's not true. Atkinson plays Wii Sports, and wishes more games were like that.

etai79
etai79

Man, people in Australia must be really narrow minded and immature, just like here in the States. I'm detecting some sort of crazy pattern here.

Antherian_being
Antherian_being

I'm not actually allowed any game above M, but im kool with that. I mean, it shall be i who ends up better anyway. (I'm only 13.) People who play games for the sake of the rating eg. they would play MA for the gore when an M game has better gameplay are the ones who should be worried about. Parents definately should be filtering games like GTA for young kids, but shouldn't need the game 2 b censored. Most parents at least draw the line @ R so if all these censorred/just passing games that are clearly innappropriate were jacked up 2 R, wouldn't alot of people be better off. I might seem all over the place, but really the bottom line is Give us an R rating so we have one less thing to gripe over with the government.

jolen420
jolen420

As a parent and gamer, I always love it when the government steps in on parenting issues and wastes money telling people how to raise their childeren. Like the money for restrictive legislation to regulate how we raise our childeren can't be spent on the education system!! Parents are the ones responsible for what their child does or doesn't do in the house, NOT a government official!! Oh and they can show a penis on television there, but shooting a zombie is bad?!?

howardorr
howardorr

I think Atkinson doesn't like videogames. I think he deserves a visit from Ant & Dec.

WickedWeavile
WickedWeavile

Referring to the Atkinson quotes, it's curious how he doesn't mention anything about R-rated movies, what, those somehow don't end up in the hands of children? It angers me greatly how Atkinson thinks that adults like me should have their freedom of choice curtailed all for the protection of children that I don't know or even care about. I love how he labels adults as 'older children' aswell. Shows what an insolent prick he really is.

WickedWeavile
WickedWeavile

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

It's up to the parents. Atkinson should just go **** himself and mind his own business.

halomonkey1_3_5
halomonkey1_3_5

well glad to see uninformed masses screwing over informed consumers. idiots 1, informed people 0.

Darth_Tyrranus
Darth_Tyrranus

I knew that my Wii has parental controls, but I've never actually learned how they work. I'd say that since I'm a bit more gaming savy than the average parent, the companies need to raise more awareness about parental controls and how they work.

Crazyguy105
Crazyguy105

So Parents these days can no longer control what their child is playing/watching? That's just pathetic.

robfield
robfield

That statement by Atkinson makes no sense. So because our parents don't understand technology it should not exist? If that were the case we shouldn't have computers or the internet. A lot of older generation people STILL don't understand those.

Sepincourt
Sepincourt

Mature age gamers suffer at the hands of parents/parental groups and those concerned for children. I don't think that having the concerns for "protection of incense" with children is a bad thing, I do however feel that making a huge amount of gamers (would be over age of 18+) suffer because of it is wrong, mainly when there are many worse things out there. It should be the responsibility of parents to make sure their children aren't getting into content they shouldn't. (In this case games) but it's much easier to just not have them around. By the same logic you can ban alcohol from the country in order to fight under-age drinking... * Edit - On another note, are parents getting lazier? Shouldn't they take a few minutes when buying their children consoles to look into parental controls? Or do they just expect someone else to take care of their children for them..... I don't think it's the console makers or game makers fault that parents don't know about these locks, the information is out there.... only they are to blame.... I think that survey mostly shows most parents don't care...

Sepincourt
Sepincourt

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Cyn987654
Cyn987654

Did Atkinson actually refer to 18-30 year-old people as 'children'? Furthemore, by his logic, kids are also circumventing their parents efforts to control access to things like alcohol, firearms, drugs, tobacco, pornography, the car...

Deano
Deano

can't R rated movies in the home make their way into childrens hands as well?. I don't see a call for a ban on them.

Marka1700
Marka1700

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

gabrielkipp
gabrielkipp

im sick of all this hype. Just bring out an r18+ rating then everyone will be happy. if the parents dont want their kids playing innaporpriate games...THEN DONT LET THEM. JESUS!!

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

"Parents have been managing restricted content in their homes for 20 years with videos and DVDs. For even longer, they’ve had to manage alcohol and cigarettes." That's a very good point. What it boils down to is parenting. If a parent is concerned enough about their child, then they'll be around enough to police the usage of games in their house. People, parents, politicians all need to stop blaming games, as an easy scapegoat and start taking some responsibility.

nav_auron
nav_auron

These should even matter, considering now a lot of our games are being banned or censored.

supergohan1
supergohan1

Theres an anti game proponant?.. and they get paid for it? Well, what a useless job that is. The tools are there to stop kids playing unsuitable games, if the parents don't use them or buy their kids games with higher age rating's than how old they actually are anyway, it is in no way the fault of the gaming industry.

COD2-The_Pope
COD2-The_Pope

The last paragraph pretty much hits the nail on the head. If Parents don't want their children playing R18+ games, they won't buy them. If they do buy them then they obviously either don't care what their child plays or are ignorent to what is in the game, in which case after seeing the child play the game they will be able to judge whether or not to take it back to the shop. It's really not that hard to control these things, i mean has common sense and responsibility completely disappeared with the advent of HD graphics and surround sound? I think the Aussie government really need to wake up to themselves and change their stance on this issue.