Microsoft has partnered with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and Super Bowl champion Jerry Rice to unveil new parental tools as part of its ongoing campaign, now in its second year, titled "Safety is no game. Is your family set?"
The new tools include a PACT, a "family contract" aimed to encourage discussion among parents and kids about guidelines for game time, and a new parental control feature for Xbox 360 called the Family Timer, which will be available for Xbox Live download in early December. The Timer will enable parents to limit kids' time on the Xbox 360 on a daily or weekly basis.
Microsoft also unveiled research showing 62 percent of parents expressing they would welcome a tool to control their kids' gaming time, and the Family Timer turns the console off automatically when the predetermined time limit has been exceeded.
The research, which according to Microsoft surveyed 800 parents of children between the ages of 5 and 17 who have a video game console in their home, showed 45 percent of parents find that enforcing rules around media consumption "creates tension" in the home. 99 percent of families said they have "some rules", but only 47 percent have comprehensive rules regarding time and access.
The joint partnership also distributes information to PTA members nationwide regarding the campaign, which encourages families to agree on a balanced approach to interactive media use and time management.
Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division president Robbie Bach said, "As a leader in interactive entertainment, it's Microsoft's responsibility to provide parents with tools they can use to manage their children's video gaming and online experiences, and we have made that a priority from the very start."