One in four parents anticipate their children to play online games for at least seven hours a day during half term
As the half term break approaches, new research from Visa reveals that nearly a quarter of parents of children who play online games (23%) anticipate them to play for seven or more hours per day during the school holidays, with the average anticipated to spend over four hours playing1.
The festive period proved a popular time for games consoles, of the one in ten who purchased a device in the last three months, 78% did so for Christmas or during a sale. The top reasons for buying a games console are that they were top of their child’s gift list (43%), they didn’t want their child to feel left out (24%), and that it’s a good way for their child to socialise with friends (23%).
PARENTAL CONCERNS ABOUT PLAYING ONLINE GAMES
When it comes to feeling confident in protecting their children online, 56% of parents say they don’t feel up to date with how different online platforms work. Also high on the list of worries are the potential of their child being scammed while playing online (62%).
Other concerns include:
- The amount of time their child spends playing online games (64%)
- Their children being contacted by potential fraudsters via an online game (60%)
- Whether their children are not spending enough face-to-face time with their friends due to playing online games (55%)
What’s more, some parents are unaware of the potential risks, with 38% saying that they didn’t know it was possible for their child to be defrauded by someone via an online game, and almost a third (32%) saying they didn’t know how this could happen.
HOW PARENTS CAN SUPPORT SAFE GAME PLAY
To further empower parents and children to keep safe whilst playing online games, Visa, a world leader in digital payments, has teamed up with Lloyds Bank and Ukie to help the whole family feel confident when it comes to playing games online.
Mandy Lamb, Managing Director, UK & Ireland at Visa comments: “We know that parents are worried about how they can best protect their children from scams while they are playing online games, which is why it’s more important than ever that they know that with Visa, their payments are protected. When it comes to using your Visa card, you can feel confident that if something does go wrong you have protection. Visa’s Zero Liability Policy* means you won’t be held responsible for unauthorised or fraudulent charges made with your account.”
According to Ukie, parents and carers are advised to protect their children by setting up parental controls and child accounts on their console so they can monitor spending, set time limits, control chat and messaging features and use content filters. Families should also encourage open conversations about online safety, so young people can continue to have positive digital experiences as part of everyday life.
BETTER UNDERSTANDING THE GAMES WORLD
Visa finds that over a quarter of parents with children who play online games (27%) have taken up, or considered taking up, playing themselves to better understand how it works, feeling it’s a good way to help their children stay safe. Two fifths of these parents (39%) say they feel more confident in educating their child about how to keep themselves safe whilst playing games online and a third (33%) feel that the decision to start playing has brought them closer to their child.
To support parents in their journey, Lloyds Bank has developed The Game Players SHIELD Code that encourages players to follow a six-point guide whilst playing to improve their safety:
- SCREEN any chats from strangers, as well as unexpected gifts and special edition or time-limited offers. Never transfer money to someone you haven’t met in person.
- HIDE personal information from others at all times, concealing your personal details where possible to avoid them being leaked.
- INVESTIGATE any gaming-related purchases before handing over money, such as checking whether the website is blacklisted on https://sitechecker.pro/blacklist-checker/ and only making card payments which offer greater consumer protection.
- EVALUATE whether gaming-related downloads are being made from established trusted sources and whether they are safe by checking for malware via www.virustotal.com
- LOCK your gaming network by using password managers, two-factor authentication within platforms and anti-virus software.
- DELINK your bank details from gaming and online browser accounts. Having two-factor authentication set up on bank transactions and using prepaid cards will also help to keep your money protected.
Liz Ziegler, Fraud Prevention Director, Lloyds Bank comments: “We know that fraudsters are sophisticated and can adapt their methods speedily, so we want people to feel empowered to spot the signs of fraud when they or their children are playing games online. Helping players – and their parents – know what to look for is an important step in preventing fraud and our SHIELD code educates all players, no matter how experienced they may be, ensuring spotting scams is top of mind and allowing people to play safely.”
Andy Robertson, Ukie Family Games Expert & Editor of Ask About Games comments: "Our aim is to help all players and their parents understand the types of activity that fraudsters use in all kinds of online environments. Games platforms invest in powerful security measures to prevent such activity, but young people can be tricked into sharing details they shouldn’t or use unauthorised, unregulated third-party websites to make purchases. We help parents understand and engage with their children's play to ensure there's an open conversation about online safety and activating the parental controls appropriately."
As a network working to protect payments, Visa is committed to tackling fraud to help everyone pay with confidence. Visa has proactively blocked £3.5 billion in attempted fraudulent payments across 122 million transactions in the last year alone, before customers were impacted2 . Visa Advanced Authorization (VAA) is a state-of-the-art tool that uses artificial intelligence to evaluate transactions, drawing on data from more than 3.8 billion card accounts3 to help banks promptly identify and prevent fraud. In 2021 alone, our fraud prevention capabilities helped stop over £19 billion in attempted fraudulent transactions4.
To find out more about the protections you have when paying with Visa, click here.
The Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment or Ukie is a trade body that aims to support, grow and promote the whole of the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry.
They represent over 500+ businesses across the UK who play a key role in supporting our thriving games ecosystem, including companies who make games, technical service providers, administrative support and game adjacent charities.
Ukie also runs a wide range of industry initiatives including parental advice site www.askaboutgames.com, the Digital Schoolhouse education scheme and Ukie Students.
Ukie’s work within the games industry to counter access to potentially fraudulent content, has resulted in the removal of over 2 million links over the past five years.
About the research
Research commissioned by Visa and conducted by Opinium with 1,000 nationally representative UK adults who are parents of gamers aged between 12-18 years old. Fieldwork took place between 20th-25th January 2023.
* Visa's Zero Liability policy does not apply to certain commercial card and anonymous prepaid card transactions or transactions not processed by Visa. Cardholders must use care in protecting their card and notify their issuing financial institution immediately of any unauthorized use. Contact your issuer for more detail.
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Case studies, comparisons, statistics, research and recommendations are provided “AS IS” and intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for operational, marketing, legal, technical, tax, financial or other advice. Visa Inc. neither makes any warranty or representation as to the completeness or accuracy of the information within this document, nor assumes any liability or responsibility that may result from reliance on such information. The Information contained herein is not intended as investment or legal advice, and readers are encouraged to seek the advice of a competent professional where such advice is required.
1 Research commissioned by Visa and conducted by Opinium with 1,000 nationally representative UK adults who are parents of gamers aged between 12-18 years old. Fieldwork took place between 20th-25th January 2023. All of the data referenced in this document is from this one survey.
2 Visa Earnings Report, October 2022
3 Visa Data, October 2022
4 Visa Data, October 2022