SINGAPOREAN KIDS SPEND NEARLY 14 HOURS A WEEK PLAYING VIDEO GAMES DESPITE PARENTS’ CONCERNS OVER VIOLENCE, SEXUAL IMAGES OR SHARING SENSITVE DETAILS
A new study from McAfee shows that while the majority (98%) of parents are concerned about the risks their children are exposed to while playing video games online — including exposure to inappropriate content or nefarious people — they admit to allowing video games to entertain their children. 85% of parents allow their children to play at least one hour of video games every day, with 7% admitting that they allow their children to play more than five hours a day. On average, children play video games for 2 hours a day or nearly 14 hours a week.
Even more staggering, 56% of children play games where they directly interact with other players, drastically increasing their risk of being targeted with inappropriate content or asked to share sensitive information. The vast majority (91%) of parents are aware of the dangers of this, with 78% particularly concerned about them being groomed to share sensitive details or being shown inappropriate content such as violence (82%), sexual images (79%) or drugs (65%).
While many parents do keep an eye on what their children are playing, 23% admit to not monitoring at all, and 10% don’t talk to their children about what is and isn’t appropriate behavior. Additionally, more than a quarter (34%) of parents admit to letting their children play games even when they are younger than the game’s age rating, with 17% letting children play games with age ratings more than 5 years over their own age. This means that children as young as 12 could be playing games that have been exclusively rated for mature audiences due to intense portrayals of violence, strong sexual themes including nudity and rape, glamorisation of use of drugs and more.
“Over the years gaming has grown dramatically in popularity and it’s now become an everyday habit for many people, particularly children,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at McAfee. “There are many advantages to playing video games, and they can be a great tool at parents’ disposal during the summer months where they need to keep their children entertained while trying to manage everything else. But, it is imperative that parents understand the risks to their children while playing video games, do their own research about the games that their children are playing and know how to provide proper guidance to their children to keep them safe online.”
“Singapore has a strong gaming culture and children here are no strangers to being glued to the screens of mobile devices for hours, especially with many getting tech savvy much earlier compared to previous generations,” said Shashwat Khandelwal, Head of Consumer, Southeast Asia at McAfee. “While allowing children to game can be seen as mode of distraction for busy parents or as an avenue for children to unwind, the risks associated with excessive gaming are often an afterthought for many. As Singapore becomes an increasingly digital society, it has never been more important for parents to educate children of the risks that come with online activities that include gaming as well as teaching them about safe and responsible online behaviour”.
The ABCs of How to Better Protect Children While Playing Video Games
- Avoid malicious links. If your children are searching online for gaming tips or new games to download, a tool like McAfee WebAdvisor can help them avoid dangerous websites and links and will warn them if they do accidentally click on something malicious.
- Be protected. No matter what anyone in the family is doing online, it’s best to use a security product like McAfee Total Protection that can help keep connected devices safe from malware. Just like any PC application, be sure to keep security software updated with the latest software version.
- Control how long they play. By using parental control software like McAfee Safe Family, you will be able to set time limits on your child’s device usage that will help minimise exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.
For More Information
To learn more about the study, check out:
- Blog post from Gary Davis: https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/gaming-risks/
- Microsite: https://home.mcafee.com/root/campaign.aspx?cid=235377
- Twitter: Follow @McAfee_Home for online safety tips, and use the hashtag #ProtectWhatMatters to join the conversation
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
McAfee commissioned OnePoll to conduct a survey of 5,000 parents of children ages 6 to 16 who play online or console games in Australia, Germany, Singapore, the U.S. and the U.K.
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