A study of 500 Australian parents revealed that only one quarter of them are aware of the parental controls built into game consoles, giving significant weight to South Australia Attorney General Michael Atkinson's claim that an R18+ rating would be bad for the country.
Commissioned by Australia's Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, the survey revealed that only 26 percent of parents in Australia are aware of the parental controls built into the current generation of videogame consoles, while roughly half admitted to being unaware of "classification locks." Male parents are considerably more likely to be aware of parental locks than females, 66 percent to 40 percent.
While gamers in Australia and abroad have long argued for the addition of an R18+ rating to the country's videogame rating system, these startling numbers provide a considerable boost to the position held by South Australia Attorney General that such a rating would be meaningless because parents would be unable to keep inappropriate content out of the hands of children once its in the house. It's difficult to argue against the need for stringent governmental restrictions on videogames when parents are clearly incapable of protecting their children themselves.
But wait! It occurs to me that there might be another possibility. Could it be that Australian parents are wallowing in the mire of cluelessness not because they're too stupid to care for their own children, but because the lack of an effective videogame rating system in Australia has left a void of information? Is there a chance that the government of South Australia isn't assisting parents at all, but is actually doing them harm by continuing to foster ignorance? After all, once they were made aware of the controls, 79 percent of parents said they would make use of them.
"Interactive gaming is played by young children, teens, Mums and Dads and as a popular family past-time [and] we want to equip parents will the tools to ensure their children enjoy the best gaming experience," said IGEA CEO Ron Curry. "Up to 88 per cent of Australian homes have at least one device for playing video and computer games and we are urging parents to be aware of the settings that can help families ensure healthy gaming habits."
Of the 21 percent of parents who said they wouldn't bother with parental controls, 38 percent claimed they weren't concerned about the length of time their children spent playing videogames, 34 percent said they didn't care what kinds of games their kids played and 22 percent figured their kids would just figure out how to override the parental locks anyway. A somewhat less formal survey of the people in this room found that 100 percent of the respondent thinks that 21 percent of Australian parents are dumbasses.