Microsoft prefer education to legislation in keeping kids safe from adult digital content

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Microsoft is launching a campaign across the US, and possibly beyond, in a bid to educate parents about how to protect their children from digital content that they don’t want them to see, such as violent and explicit games and certain online content.

For example, the Xbox 360, like the Xbox before it, contains a family settings feature which will allow restrictions to be put on what can be played, based upon information coded into the game. The system also extends to the Xbox Live service and Xbox Live Vision camera, so restrictions could also be placed on who children communicate with using the system.

Microsoft say that it is better to educate rather than to legislate to ban certain types of games, and is organising a 20 US city bus tour to provide education to parents.

Thing is, kids are still going to get hold of games that their parents probably wish they hadn’t, and play them on unrestricted machines. And let’s face it, kids are far more technologically aware than their parents – who’s to say they won’t just crack whatever restrictions are in place, or their parents won’t know how to put the restriction on in the first place?

It’s another move in the ongoing rumble about the how games affect children. On the one hand, some schools are adopting games as a form of education and say it improves children’s interest, participation and learning. On the other hand are those that would quite happily see all violent games either completely banned, or severely restricted, because they may have a detrimental effect and cause all our kids to become axe murderers…

In fact it’s probably been rumbling on since Pac Man came out.

Andy Merrett