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Parents Can No Longer Ignore Their Children's Video Game Habits

11th Annual MediaWise® Video Game Report Card Commends Big Box Retailers and Game Console Manufacturers, Says Parents Must Do Better and More Research Needed on Effects of Games


Darin Broton 651-276-1678; New School Communications, 651-221-1999; both for The National Institute on Media and the Family


WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 /Standard Newswire/ -- The National Institute on Media and the Family, the nation's leading resource on the effects of media and video games on children, today released its 11th Annual MediaWise Video Game Report Card in Washington, D.C. This year's MediaWise Video Game Report Card highlights major improvements in big box retailer enforcement and policies; commends responsible retailers and game console makers for video game safeguards; and recommends additional research on positive and negative effects and uses of video games related to school performance, children's health and behavioral development.


Joined by Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), David Walsh, Ph.D., president and founder of the National Institute on Media and the Family, presented the 11th Annual MediaWise Video Game Report Card which issued grades to parents, retailers, video game console manufacturers and the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). While improvements have been made by the video game industry and retailers, parental involvement received an "Incomplete" as surveys showed too few parents following the ESRB's ratings and parental controls on gaming consoles.


"While retailers like Target and Best Buy and game console manufacturers like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have made great strides in educating parents on the rating system and installing parental controls on their products, many parents have not followed or used these tools to prevent their kids from playing inappropriate video games," Dr. Walsh said. "We parents need to pay more attention to the games our kids are playing and how much time they are spending playing games."


Studies continue to show that prolonged game play can adversely affect a child's physical health and school performance as well as social and behavioral skills. A new study has found almost half of all "heavy gamers" are six- to 17-years-old. Children who spend more time playing video games are heavier, and are more likely to be classified as overweight or obese. The amount of time a child plays video games is correlated with poorer grades in school and attention problems.


"If there is a simple message we can give to parents, it is this -- 'watch what your kids watch, play what your kids play,'" continued Dr. Walsh.


Other areas of special concern highlighted in the 11th Annual MediaWise Video Game Report Card include: a retailer survey that shows specialty game retailers failed to prevent kids from purchasing M-rated video games; the surprisingly easy access to M-rated video games through major retailers' online Web sites; and further evidence linking childhood obesity to the amount of time a child plays video games. Similar to previous years, the Annual MediaWise Video Game Report Card provides parents a list of recommended video games and games to avoid.


The National Institute on Media and the Family is an independent, non-partisan, non-sectarian, nonprofit organization. The Institute's mission is to maximize the benefits and minimize the harm mass media have on children through research and education. For more information, visit  on the Web or call 1-888-672-5437.