Safety and security are paramount in today's digital world, and none more so than in the when it comes to children playing online video games. With that in mind, the big three game consoles makers – Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft – have come together to publish a manifesto that declares their shared commitment to online gaming safety for kids.
Whether you and yours prefer to play on a Nintendo Switch, a PS5, or an Xbox Series X, you can hopefully rest a little easier thanks to this new declaration, which certainly promises a lot for your little ones
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Dave McCarthy, Corporate Vice President of Xbox Operations, posted the manifesto on the official Xbox site. As written, Microsoft believes that "gaming is for all people of all ages, including [its] youngest and most vulnerable players. All players deserve to have fantastic social gaming experiences in settings where respect and safety are mutual." As such, Microsoft, along with Sony and Nintendo, have written up three pillars of their online safety commitment.
The first of these is "prevention," which involves ways that parents and other players can avoid problems in the first place. These include parental gaming controls and new "technology to help thwart improper conduct and content before a player is subject to harm." The big three say that they will make these parental controls clear on their various channels and websites.
The second pillar is "partnership," because these three console makers can't do it all on their own. The most obvious of these partnerships are ratings boards like the ESRB and PEGI, which create content ratings for video games in North America and Europe, respectively. According to the post, it also involves working with community members to handle problematic players and working with industry organizations to develop new safety programs.
The third and final pillar is "responsibility," with Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo promising to hold themselves accountable. This involves providing ways to players to report problems, making corporate rules more transparent, and of course complying with law enforcement when necessary.
Altogether, it's a lot of big promises from the big three, and it remains to be seen what new, specific methods they use to implement these commitments in day-to-day gaming. PC games are notably absent, and of course there are other new game consoles out there who haven't attached their names to these promises. Safety for children (and everyone else) online is important, so we'll see how Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo follow up on these grand statements.