Microsoft and several partners launched Get Game Smart, a new public service campaign providing families with resources and incentives to rules and guidelines for media use at home, particularly with video games on Xbox 360 and PC.
The campaign seeks to encourage parents to to practice healthy, balanced, and age-appropriate media use with their children. An official site
was launched with information about parental controls tools, tips, and resources on how parents can make safer gaming choices.
The site features a blog designed to tackle issues such as "reducing family friction when it comes to video games" and to inform parents of trends to anticipate with video gaming and online safety.
As part of the campaign, Microsoft is looking to recruit parents and teens as Get Game Smart Ambassadors to help educate their peers on video gaming and media choices. Parents and their teens are invited to submit a brief video showing their family's approach to a responsible digital lifestyle with video gaming rules.
A panel of judges including ESA president Mike Gallagher, WiredSafety.org's Parry Aftab, and several others will select the finalists, while the contest winners will be chosen by popular vote through Get Game Smarts site.
The winners will receive prizes like an Xbox 360 system, family-friendly Xbox 360 games, Zune media players, Insignia digital cameras, and more. Additionally, they will become Get Game Smart Ambassadors, joining Microsoft and "other influential voices" in a new forum designed to maintain a dialogue on gaming safety.
Families can also enter the Get Game Smart Family Challenge Sweepstakes, completing activities related to smart video gaming and media use. One grand-prize winner will receive a $5,000 Best Buy gift card, while 100 winners will receive Best Buy gift cards for amount worth up to $250.
Microsoft's partners for the campaign include Best Buy, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Entertainment Software Association, Entertainment Software Rating Board, GetNetWise, iSAFE Inc., National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, National Institute on Media and the Family, National Urban League, NetSmartz Workshop, Parents’ Choice Foundation, StaySafeOnline.org, Web Wise Kids, What They Play and WiredSafety.org.
"I’m a dad, and I know how important it is for parents to get involved with their children’s video gaming and media experiences, not to mention feel equipped to make sure those experiences are as fun and safe as possible," says Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division president Robbie Bach.
"Get Game Smart demonstrates Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to this effort and complements the award-winning Family Settings tools we built into our products like Xbox 360 and Windows Vista. These offerings allow families to get the most enjoyment out of today’s digital entertainment."