- It is the first joint initiative between Internet Matters and Electronic Arts as they announce a partnership to help families get to grips with responsible video gaming
- Backed by football legend Ian Wright and podcasters Scummy Mummies, parents are being encouraged to get more involved in their children’s world of video gaming over the summer holidays
- The campaign comes as new research conducted by Internet Matters shows parents who get involved with their child’s play are more likely to recognise the benefits for their children – from social development to improving problem-solving skills and concentration levels
- The research also shows that despite parents’ increasing concerns around how much time kids spend playing games, and video gaming with strangers (rising 43% and 37% in two years) only 42% of parents speak to their children about safe and responsible gaming and only 37% have set up parental controls
- Therefore the two organisations have come together to encourage parents to get involved and to learn more about the tools available.
For a lot of parents and carers, spending the summer holidays playing video games is something they usually leave to the kids.
However, a new campaign launched today by Internet Matters in partnership with Electronic Arts is encouraging parents and carers to get more involved in video gaming to help them understand the benefits for children and the simple steps they can take to use tools to ensure they’re playing safely and responsibly.
The campaign – Play Together/Play Smart – is being supported by footballing legend and TV pundit Ian Wright and comedians Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn, hosts of hit podcast Scummy Mummies.
With the launch of a new Play Together/Play Smart hub today Internet Matters and Electronic Arts are encouraging parents and carers to talk about gaming with their children, join in and get a better understanding of the features available for children to play better, safer, and more responsibly.
It includes step-by-step advice on how to set up parental controls, set boundaries on screen time, manage in-game spending, advice on age-appropriate games and support for their child’s development. It also puts even the most anxious parents on the starting block, with a guide to the top five games that parents can try safely and responsibly.
It is the first joint initiative between Internet Matters and Electronic Arts, a global leader in interactive entertainment with titles including FIFA 21, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order and The Sims, which has become a partner of the not-for-profit organisation as part of its commitment to positive gaming.
It comes as a new survey by Internet Matters of 2,000 UK parents reveals how those who get involved and play video games with their children are far more likely to recognise the benefits – yet only one in four (25%) are doing this most or all of the time.
Only two in five (42%) talk to their child about safe gaming and only 37% have set up parental controls. Of those who haven’t set controls, almost six out of 10 parents (58%) are unaware of them, do not know how to set them up, or think it is too difficult. Yet, of the parents who have already set parental controls, 80% said it was easy to do.
The research also shows that half (50%) of kids are now playing games on their phones every day. In addition, it highlights how parents’ concerns on several issues have grown significantly over the last two years.
Six in 10 (63%) worry their kids are spending too long playing on their devices (up from 44% in 2019). Over half (52%) are concerned about their kid’s video gaming with strangers (up from 38% in 2019), and 45% fear their child being bullied when playing (up from 40%).
However, parents are also increasingly recognising the benefits of gaming – particularly those who get more involved. Three-quarters of parents (75%) who very regularly video game with their children say it helps improve their child’s problem-solving skills, versus 45% of those who don’t. A similar number of parents (74%) who play with their kids say it helps their child be creative (versus 42% who don’t), and 72% say it helps with their child’s concentration (versus 39%).
Nearly seven out of 10 (69%) say it builds self-confidence and a similar number (67%) believe it helps in social development – this is more than double the amount compared to parents who don’t play video games with their kids.
Ian Wright, the former England footballer and TV pundit said: “I’m a big believer in getting involved and supporting the things that my kids and grandkids love. I play video games with my children and grandchildren, it’s something that connects us and it also means I know exactly what they are doing online. Life is so different to when we were kids and time together is important, so it’s vital that we as parents feel connected and understand children’s online activity.
“I know it may feel alien for some parents at first, but playing video games together will allow you to talk openly with your kids about what they’re up to, both online and offline, so you can feel confident that they’re gaming safely and responsibly.
“The Play Together/Play Smart campaign with Electronic Arts and Internet Matters is important because it helps parents and carers take a positive leading role in helping their children play in a safe and fair way that supports the benefits and positive experience of the digital world.”
Helen Thorn, co-host of the hit podcast Scummy Mummies, tried out video gaming with her two children (aged 12 and 10) for the first time as part of the campaign.
She said: “Many mums will think this is their worst nightmare come true – being shown up by your own child on a video game. But my kids loved me getting involved.
“Any conversations around setting boundaries, or just playing responsibly while gaming online, is so much easier when they know I understand more about them.”
Samantha Ebelthite, Head of Global Commercial Markets Intelligence at Electronic Arts, said: “We’re proud to be teaming up with Internet Matters on the Play Together/Play Smart campaign to encourage parents and carers to get involved with their children’s video gaming, while also providing resources to encourage responsible video gaming.
“We understand that it’s not easy for all parents. That’s why we take seriously our responsibility to provide tools and help parents and players to understand how to use them effectively.”
“We believe that parental controls, coupled with an ongoing and open discussion within the family about healthy playtime, age-appropriate games and online behaviour, can help to ensure that kids always have a positive experience when playing video games whether that’s by themselves, or with their family and friends.”
CEO of Internet Matters, Carolyn Bunting (MBE), said: “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 games safely and address some of their concerns.
“That’s why our partnership with Electronic Arts is so important as we can provide resources for parents that will give them the confidence to talk to their child about safe gaming, set boundaries – and hopefully join in by taking up a game or two that they can play with their kids this summer.”
The Play Together/Play Smart hub can be found at www.internetmatters.org/playtogetherplaysmart.