Widely reported survey claims parents are not following PEGI age ratings

More than half of parents allow their children to play video games for over eighteens claims a survey made by childcare-finding site Childcare.co.uk. The survey has been widely reported by the specialist and mainstream press, despite there being little detail in the press release.

The site ‘surveyed 2000 parents’, though there’s no methodology mentioned about whether these were randomly selected from users, or self-selected (ie. they actively chose to participate). It’s hard to say if the results are wholly accurate for the population at large, but they certainly make for concerning reading if taken as indicative of wider opinions.

The survey found that ‘more than half of parents allow their children to play video games for over 18s, without supervision or knowledge of the game beforehand.’ That compares with just 18 per cent for an 18-rated movie in the same survey.

The survey also reported that four fifths (86 per cent) of parents stated they don’t follow age restrictions on video games, compared to just a quarter (23 per cent) who said they didn’t follow age restrictions on films.

It’s hard to fathom what this means exactly, though, presumably there aren’t 23 per cent of parents showing 18-rated movies to five year olds (who most likely wouldn’t watch more than two minutes of anything that wasn’t directly targeted at their age group anyway), so some level of consideration must be occurring when choosing content, even if that’s not a strict abeyance of the age ratings.

The survey results, as reported, also seem to contradict each other in places. At one point the results state that ‘nearly half (43 per cent) of parents have seen a negative change in their child’s behaviour since playing games aimed at adults’, but yet ‘more than four fifths (86 per cent) of parents don’t believe that games will impact their child’s behaviour or outlook on life.

It’s also surprising that the site didn’t reach out to PEGI with its results, in fact it doesn’t mention the name of the European-wide age-rating system at all.

It’s hard to see what the clear takeaway is of all this without the full dataset and methodology to study. We’ve reached out to Childcare.co.uk for this and will update this article if we receive it.

Richard Conway, the founder of Childcare.co.uk said in the press release:

“It’s difficult in this day and age to govern what your child is exposed to, because if your 10-year-old has friends who are playing Fortnite, which is rated 12, you want them to be included in the fun. However, it’s always worth looking into the game to see if it’s suitable rather than leaving them to their own devices.

“What’s interesting is that the majority of parents follow film age ratings, but when it comes to video games they maybe aren’t as strict. It’s important to remember how impressionable children are; if they see behaviour or language in a video game or movie, they may mimic it.”

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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