In conjunction with Safer Internet Day, Microsoft today released a survey of the perceptions and behaviors of gamers and parents of gamers.  Cross Tab Marketing conducted the survey of 300 gamers aged 18-24 and 300 parents of gamers aged four and above.  The survey found that while parents have concerns, most parents feel they are taking effective steps to protect their children.  Among the findings:

 

  • Parents rank the risks from online gaming low compared to other online activities
    • Online chatting, browsing social networks and the Internet are considered more risky
    • There are only minor differences between the concerns parents have for general online activities and online gaming
    • Gamers aged 18-24 rank risks associated with “my ability to play” (e.g., hacking my account) high compared to “direct attacks against me” (e.g., poor behavior)
    • Concerns about online gaming are similar between parents who play online games and those who do not
  • 86% of parents say the steps they take to protect their children have been effective but most do not use family safety settings
    • The most effective steps are direct monitoring by playing with the child or playing in a family area without the door closed
    • 53% of parents believe that family settings are too hard to use or are unaware of what is available.  A similar number of parents (54%) don’t use family settings because they trust their children
    • Gamers aged 18-24 rely more heavily on friends to help them decide which games to play.   They also pay less attention to game ratings and are more price conscious than parents of gamers under 18

Among the most encouraging findings is that parents are spending time with kids online: