Comedian Katherine Ryan fronts Internet Matters and Electronic Arts Video Games Campaign

A comedic take on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas performed by comedian Kathering Ryan urges parents and guardians to set controls on games consoles before their children unwrap them.

  • The video – fronted by comedian and mum-of-two Katherine – highlights the importance of setting parental controls to manage play and spend in-game and how simply they can be applied
  • This comes as new research shows almost half (45%) of parents buying consoles don’t intend to set up parental controls before giving them to their child
  • The research shows how a third (32%) of parents who hadn’t set up controls on consoles said they couldn’t see the value in doing so or didn’t understand them
  • The campaign forms part of the Play Together/Play Smart initiative from Internet Matters and Electronic Arts and comes as part of EA’s ongoing commitment to ensuring better, safer and responsible video gaming

Internet Matters and Electronic Arts are launching a new campaign today urging parents and guardians to set up video gaming consoles with parental controls ahead of gifting them this festive season.

Katherine Ryan’s remake of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas aims to educate parents and guardians on the benefits of setting up parental controls and advise parents on where to go to find tips on how to do so.

The mum-of-two, 38, backed the campaign by Internet Matters and Electronic Arts after wanting to place more boundaries and ‘stay in control’ of her own daughter’s video gaming.

The video – dubbed ‘Twas the Night Before Video Games – sees Katherine wrapping gifts at home as she poetically details how parental controls are free, easy and allow you to set limits on what your child can play, for how long and monitor who they play with. Her remake of the Christmas classic also reminds parents and guardians how controls can stop children from in-game spending.

This comes as new research from Internet Matters reveals that almost half (45%) of parents buying consoles in the next 12 months don’t intend to set up parental controls before giving them to their child.

A third (32%) of parents surveyed who hadn’t set up controls on consoles said they couldn’t see the value in doing so or didn’t understand them.

And nearly a third (31%) of those parents who had set up parental controls, said they forgot to do it before giving it to their children.

But the parents surveyed said they value easy and simple-to-follow advice on setting them up – with four out of 10 parents learning from online resources or directly from their video game console instructions.

Internet Matters has a dedicated video gaming hub to help parents and guardians get to grips with the latest advice to understand the world of playing online and encourage young people to play video games responsibly online. This includes simple step-by-step how-to guides on setting up parental controls for all consoles.

Alongside setting up parental controls, Internet Matters advises families to get involved and have regular, open conversations about safe video gaming as the best way for parents and guardians to protect their child from risks.

Comedian Katherine Ryan, who is mum to 12-year-old Violet and four-month-old son Frederick with husband Bobby, has told of the importance of the campaign.

She said: “I’ll support any measure that helps my children play more responsibly  – especially if it’s simple for me to do.

“Sure, the festive season can be a crazy time – last minute present-wrapping, cooking… indulging, there’s so many jobs to do; but this really is one of the most important things parents and guardians can do ahead of the festivities.

“By setting up parental controls ahead of giving Violet her console, she gets to enjoy it but I still get to feel like I’m in control. Crucially, by doing it before she starts using it, I am giving myself a break, by preventing any arguments over how much time she’s spending video gaming, how she’s connecting with others and how much money she’s spending. It’s a win, win.”

Chief Experience Officer at Electronic Arts (EA), Chris Bruzzo said: “We know that the holidays can be stressful for many parents and guardians and we want to help them navigate the gifting of a new video games console to make it as seamless as possible. That’s why we encourage all parents and guardians to set up parental controls before handing it over. Controls can really put your mind at ease that your children are playing responsibly, without the need to constantly monitor them.

“Alongside open discussions with your children regarding healthy play time, age-appropriate video games, in-game spend and online behaviour, parental controls can ensure that children and guardians/parents alike have a positive experience while playing video games. Our festive edition of the ‘Play Together/Play Smart’ campaign aims to raise awareness of these tools to make sure parents are aware of the choices they can make around how their children play.”

 CEO of Internet Matters, Carolyn Bunting (MBE), said: “With Christmas around the corner Katherine’s video comes at a vital time and we hope it will help give parents some clarity about the importance of parental controls.

“Setting up your child’s console before you gift it to them helps give you peace of mind over Christmas to allow them to enjoy their time safely and responsibly.

“The more that parents can get involved in their child’s world of video gaming, the more they will be able to understand how they can support them in playing and address some of their concerns.”

Find out how to set up parental controls on your child’s brand new console here.

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