Gaming Console and PC Parental Controls – A Parent’s Guide
The gaming experience has evolved significantly from its humble roots and today there are numerous platforms and devices that allow individuals to play video games. Video games provide people with the opportunity to pass time in an interactive manner while interacting with others in an environment that is similar to that of the real world. Today video games are designed to be both fun and educational, incorporating elements of both physical and digital arts. The basic function of a video game is to entertain and provide a fun, safe, and relaxing experience to players.
Video gaming provides a platform through which children can explore new skills and interact with peers in an environment that is familiar and safe. Computer gaming is also popular among parents for the same reason. A computer game or video game is any electronic program that involves interaction with a user either through keyboard, mouse, or any other form of input device that impacts the user’s interaction and therefore the outcomes of the game. Video gaming systems are manufactured by most major manufacturers such as Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Sega, and Nintendo. Many of the leading manufactures of video game consoles include parental control options that enable users to block inappropriate content, ensure that specific age level requirements are met, and monitor game play to ensure that children are not exposed to inappropriate material.
Parents often purchase gaming consoles for their children in order to encourage educational games and activities. In addition, many parents use video games as a form of discipline for their children. In some instances, parents have reported that playing video games can have positive educational benefits for children. If a parent wishes to purchase a gaming console, it is advisable that they familiarize themselves with the various parental controls available on different gaming systems in order to block inappropriate content, ensure that the parental controls are effective, and that they are implemented in a way that is easy to operate and understands the basic security considerations of gaming.
When parents purchase gaming consoles for their children, one of the features that they are usually interested in is the availability of in-game parental controls. In-game parental controls provide parents with a means to block inappropriate content, restrict chat room access, and report offensive language in video games. This is often a welcomed feature when considering that children are often vulnerable to the negative effects of inappropriate language and imagery. Another common example of in-game parental controls involves the ability to block users from purchasing downloadable content from certain websites. This provides parents with another additional means to control the amount of access that their children have to online media.
In terms of video gaming systems and online gaming, many parents are now familiar with the concept of time limits. Time limits can be implemented to prevent the occurrence of harmful situations in which a child gets exposed to inappropriate materials. Time limits can be implemented by the gamer to limit the amount of time they spend playing a particular game. In this manner, the amount of time spent playing a particular game does not exceed a set threshold amount, and a gamer is essentially alerted by the in-game guide to try to avoid the risk of harming their gaming experience. This allows parents to take a more active role in the gaming experience of their children, and allows them to take a proactive approach to the issue of online gaming and the dangers that exist.
There are numerous instances when gaming console and PC owners have been disciplined by a range of online gaming sites for inappropriate conduct. For example, in 2010 an appeals court ruling invalidated a policy that barred some gamers from playing their platform games on certain day of the week. The court determined that the policy was based on “uniformity” among gaming platforms and did not apply across the board. As a result of this decision, the policy was ultimately eliminated and all prospective owners were required to submit clear documentation outlining what types of content their platforms would not block.