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PEGI Gaming Guidance

PEGI provides advice regarding the age suitability of a game. However, every child is different. Ultimately parents should decide what their children are capable of viewing or experiencing. Here are a few tips:

  • Always look for the age classification on the game package or via the search engine on this website.
  • Try to look for a summary or review of the game content or ideally play the game yourself first.
  • Play video games with your children, watch over them when they play and talk with them about the games they play. Explain why certain games are not suitable.
  • Be aware that online games sometimes enable the download of extra software that can alter the game content and eventually the age classification of the game.
  • Online games are usually played in virtual communities requiring players to interact with unknown fellow players. Tell your children not to give out personal details and report inappropriate behaviour.
  • Set the limits by using the parental control tools of the game console or pc.

 

Parental Control Tools

All gaming consoles, handheld devices and operating systems for PC and Mac are equipped with parental control systems, allowing parents to protect their childrens privacy and online safety according to various parameters. With these control tools, parents can:

  • select which games children are allowed to play (based on the PEGI age ratings)
  • control and monitor the use of digital purchases
  • limit access to an internet browser by applying a filter
  • control the amount of time that children can spend playing games
  • control the level of online interaction (chat) and exchange of data (text messages, user-generated content)


Where to find specific information about parental control tools?

Microsoft: Xbox ONE Parental Controls

Microsoft: Xbox 360 Parental Controls

Microsoft: Windows 10 Family Features

Nintendo Parents Guide

Sony: Parental Controls on PlayStation 4

Google Play: Parental Controls

 

In-game purchases

What are they?

New content, game functionality, features and/or upgrades for a particular game or app are offered regularly to users nowadays. If such purchases are made during gameplay, they are called in-game purchases (or in-app purchases on mobile devices), although they can also be made available as separate items in online stores outside of a game. In some cases, a player can make a purchase (a new item or an upgrade) directly with real money, and alternatively in other cases a player can purchase in-game virtual currency with real money that can in turn be redeemed for content during gameplay.

Examples of such in-game purchases include:
- Coins, points, diamonds, etc.: these are examples of in-game currency which can be redeemed for content, features, upgrades etc.
- Levels/maps: certain extra levels or areas inside a game’s universe may be unlocked via a digital purchase.
- Characters: new characters with varying skillsets can be acquired to play the same game again, each time with a different approach.
- Weapons/tools: a freemium game that can be downloaded for no charge may give a player a standard set of tools or weapons to progress in the game. Yet the game may offer other tools with increased functionality, making it easier to complete certain parts of the game.
- Appearance upgrades: these are items – not necessarily functional – that can be worn by an avatar or be added to virtual belongings like cars, bikes or houses. Examples include all kinds of clothing, tattoos, jewelry, decals, numberplates, etc.

Why are they used?

In-game purchases enable players to only buy parts of the game they want, giving them the chance to sample and enjoy a game for free and to tailor their gameplay experience by purchasing extra content. Publishers can continually offer new content after the game is initially downloaded, thereby extending the experience for consumers who appreciate the game. In other cases, extra content represents short-cuts through the game, by reducing the level of difficulty or by providing faster progress through a game.

As with any online purchase, it is important for parents to understand how to control in-game purchases via the platforms and devices their children may be using. Many people in Europe enjoy games, with and without making in-game purchases. Platforms and online stores include various tools to empower consumers to make informed decisions, including on behalf of their children, and to control the settings relating to digital purchases, internet access, online interaction and other functionality, as shown below.

 

How to control in-game purchases?

 

Amazon: 
By activating the parental controls for in-app purchases, you must enter your account password or a specific PIN code to complete any in-app purchase in the Amazon Appstore on your device:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201357720

 

Apple iTunes Store: 
By enabling restrictions on a device, you can require a password for purchases, prevent certain types of purchases or disable purchasing entirely:

http://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT6088

 

Google Play: 
Setting up password protection for the Google Play Store will help prevent accidental or unwanted purchases on your mobile device or on Android TV:

https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/1626831/?hl=en-GB

 

Microsoft:
By creating separate accounts for multiple users, parents can prevent unauthorized purchases on the Xbox One console. By creating a passkey, you make sure that other people cannot sign into your account, make purchases or change settings:

http://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/security/prevent-unauthorized-purchases

 

Windows Phone allows you to set up a Wallet PIN code to prevent accidental or unauthorized purchases. Moreover, by setting up a Kid’s Corner, you can control what applications a child can access on your phone and whether it can make in-app purchases:

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-gb/how-to/wp8/apps/set-up-a-wallet-pin

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-gb/how-to/wp8/people/set-up-kids-corner

 

Nintendo:
On Wii U, Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo 2DS, parents can restrict the use of credit cards and online purchasing through Nintendo’s Shopping Services. It requires the entry of the PIN code to add funds with a credit card or to complete purchases:

http://www.nintendo.co.uk/Support/Parents/Safety/Nintendo-3DS-Parental-Controls/What-can-I-restrict-with-Parental-Controls-/What-can-I-restrict-with-Parental-Controls--907332.html

 

Sony:
To ensure that a child does not make unauthorised purchases on devices which are connected to Playstation Network, parents should:
- Password protect their own master account to prevent unauthorised access by their child and ensure the "required password for checkout" setting is also in place to prevent purchasing even if the account is left logged in; and
- Create a sub-account for each child and set the parental controls to limit or prevent any spending on the parent's account:

http://faq.en.playstation.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/9778

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