A new survey by Microsoft shows that a good majority of UK parents not only see games as having educational benefit, but think of them as a vital part of their home entertainment.

The second annual “Play Safe, Play Smart” survey conducted by Microsoft has shown that a majority of parents in the UK believe that games have widespread benefits for their children and families, with 75% seeing games as having educational benefits. The survey also showed that while parents are increasingly aware of tools like parental controls and rating systems, most kids, interestingly enough, wish their folks were more vigilant about using these resources.

According to the survey, 61% of parents think that games are a great social experience, 52% think that games bring families together and 80% see them as a “vital component a balanced blend of modern and traditional entertainment.”

Meanwhile, it seems that parents are becoming increasingly aware of the resources at hand for monitoring what their kids play. Parental awareness of parental control features in game systems raised 13% from last year to 60% and 94% of parents said they feel responsible for checking a game’s rating.

Feelings don’t always translate to action, however, as 64% of parents admit that they “sometimes allow” their children to play games with ratings inappropriate for their age group. You’d think that kids would be all about this, but 69% of children surveyed actually want their parents to be more involved in monitoring the games they play, and 47% say their parents don’t try at all, or when they do it’s “never” or “not enough.”

The survey also revealed a growing concern over online interactions in games. A third of parents admit to not knowing who their kids are interacting with online, and 42% are worried that these people might be older than them. Kids, meanwhile, think this is a whole bunch of poppycock: 95% say they’ve never encountered anything harmful online.

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