Generation: Gamerz Xbox 360 Family Timer

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{tag [News]} {tag [OpEd]} {tag [X360]}

In 26 countries today, Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 Family Timer.  The utility, available for download via Xbox Live, can restrict activity time.  According to the press release, "helpful notifications will appear to warn gamers that the session is nearing the end so they have sufficient time to save their game, and the feature will automatically turn off the console when the predetermined time limit has been exceeded."  Parents can set these time limits on a daily or weekly basis.

The family timer comes in response to several surveys conducted by Microsoft.  According to the Xbox creator, 75 percent of European parents who responded to the survey would welcome "built-in technology or software to monitor the time their children spend playing video games".  In the United States, the response was similar, with 62 percent of parents supporting this technology.  The surveys were conducted as part of Microsoft’s “Safety is no game. Is your family set?” campaign.

“As a leader in interactive entertainment, it has been our priority to innovate and improve our Family Settings technology to help parents worldwide manage their children’s video gaming and online experiences,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of Global Marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.

The survey also concluded that in the U.S., "66 percent of parents have rules about the amount of time their kids can spend playing video games and 86 percent have rules about the type of content their kids have access to".

My biggest concern with surveys like this, is why are more parents not concerned with the content their children play?  Although there is no telling the age of the respondent's children, it seems to me that ALL parents should be aware of what their children are playing, regardless of their age.  Technology like the Family Timer seems like yet another way parents can avoid interaction with their children.  Videogames should serve as a gap between generations: a "common play-ground" for families.  They should not be a way to pacifiy kids while their parents ignore them.


In : PC

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