Few parents know kids are playing games online

A study from Entertainment Software Association of Canada finds the vast majority of parents have no idea that their kids are playing video games online.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Although kids are playing video games online, few parents know about it, an upcoming survey commissioned by the Entertainment Software Association in Canada has found.

According to the CBC, which acquired a copy of the survey to be released in October, 77 percent of Canadian kids between the ages of 6 and 17 currently play video games online. But just 5 percent of parents said they knew their kids were playing games online.

The ESA of Canada was not so pleased with the findings. The organization's executive director, Danielle LaBossiere Parr, said earlier this week to reporters in Toronto that the ESA needs to "get the message out to parents that they should know what their kids are doing."

Currently, the ESRB, which was established by the ESA in 1994, does not include "online interactions" in its game ratings. Because of that, Canadian parents might not know that services like Xbox Live are filled with obscenity-laced bouts between players that might not be suitable for children.

However, the survey--performed by NPD Group--also found that 77 percent of players check a game's ESRB rating before buying it. And a whopping 93 percent of adults found the ratings quite helpful when evaluating a game.

The ESA of Canada also found that 53 percent of all respondents had played a video game in the past four weeks. That group was dominated by children between the ages of 6 and 12 with 90 percent of the age bracket playing at least one game in the last four weeks. All told, approximately 47 percent of households have a game console.

For the study, NPD surveyed 3,500 gamers in Canada via Web-based focus groups.