February 7, 2023
Safer Internet Day 2023: Insights and Learnings from the Video Game Industry to Help Foster Better Online Experiences for Everyone
As a proud supporter of Safer Internet Day, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) joins those in D.C. and around the world in highlighting the importance of creating better online experiences. The growing success of the video game industry, as the leading form of global interactive entertainment, demonstrates why creating safe online experiences is a winning proposition for industry and players alike.
With more than 215 million Americans now playing video games regularly, and increasingly online with others, providing a welcoming player environment is not ancillary to the industry’s growth—it is core to its ongoing success.
The video game industry has long prioritized positive online play while developing innovative technology that brings to life more immersive and interactive entertainment than could have been imagined when Safer Internet Day was created two decades ago.
Trust and Safety: A Shared Goal. The video game industry has a strong record of working to promote positive play and player safety. In 1994, the industry created the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to provide age and content ratings for video games—and later apps—to help consumers, especially parents and caregivers, make informed decisions. The industry’s commitment continues today through providing a robust and evolving set of programs designed to build and sustain good experiences for all players. The new Trust and Safety section on our website highlights some of the ways the video game industry is enabling a better online experience for all players, including:
- Parental Tools. The industry believes it is important to equip parents and caregivers with tools that filter games by age rating, manage time spent playing, set limits on or prevent in-game spending and can restrict online communications.
- Empowering Players. Providing information and tools to customize settings while playing video games online and with others empowers players to control what personal information they choose to share, set restrictions on communications within games, mute or block players and easily report inappropriate behavior or content.
- Leading Technologies. The video game industry is a leader in creating innovative technologies that not only create unique, engaging online game experiences but also foster positivity, safety and inclusivity. Often in the background, they are designed to prevent harm before it happens. These include communication-filtering and image-hashing technologies to help combat child exploitation and other technologies to address inappropriate behavior.
- Clear Codes of Conduct. Cultivating communities that welcome and include all players requires guidelines that explain what is and isn’t acceptable behavior, as well as a commitment to upholding those rules consistently so that everyone understands what is expected.
- Promoting Positive Play. While the majority of players consistently adhere to codes of conduct, sometimes negative interactions occur. When that happens, many video game companies have trained teams in place to help determine next steps—not only to correct, but to teach and coach players toward better choices going forward. Examples include incentive systems that reward players for responsible behavior like helping others or practicing good sportsmanship.
- Partnerships and Collaboration. Console makers, publishers and developers have united to encourage and support online safety in video games through positive and inclusive experiences. The industry not only works together, but also with well-respected third parties that focus on digital wellness, child safety and good gaming.
The video game industry recognizes that player safety is critical to its health and growth. That is why on Safer Internet Day, and every other day, the video game industry remains committed to promoting the benefits of positive play as a winning strategy for everyone.
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