National Video Game Day 2024 - ESA

July 8, 2024

On July 8, 2024 the United States celebrates National Video Game Day. To celebrate, FOSI asked its video game member companies about all things online safety and video games. Aubrey Quinn, SVP of Communications & Public Affairs at ESA, had the following advice to share.

What is your #1 piece of online safety advice for parents of young gamers?

There are a number of valuable tools and resources available to parents to help manage their kids video game play, from ESRB ratings to parental controls on devices, but nothing helps parents feel comfortable more than knowing what their kids play. Beyond that, encouraging an ongoing, judgement-free conversation about why your kids love games, and playing online, is a great way to stay on top of it and better understand the personal and social benefits your kids are getting out of playing games. Play with your kids, watch them play, ask them to share about the games they play – what they are playing, what they like about it, who they are playing with. Nothing beats that first-hand knowledge. 

If your kids play online, it’s also vitally important to set some rules around online communication. Walk through why it’s important not to share personal information like your kids’ real names, email addresses, phone numbers, location, school, etc. And if they’re ever uncomfortable with how someone is behaving, let them know that can always come to you to manage it together, including blocking, muting, and reporting the offending individual.

As a video game company, how do you strive to prioritize online safety?

While we’re not an organization that creates or distributes games, the video game industry has been a leader in player safety for more than 30 years. That leadership stems from continually evolving along with industry to ensure that consumers are properly informed prior to purchase and have easy access to robust tools to help manage games in the home. Parents can take comfort knowing that the video game industry sees player safety as a collective priority, and have implemented a number of approaches to help keep players safe, including: codes of conduct to encourage a fun, respectful environment, human oversight and moderators to identify and stop bad actors, parental controls, in-game player controls, advanced technologies, and efforts to promote and reward positive play.

What advice do you have for wary parents whose kids would like to get into gaming?

Parents should remember that video games are a form of entertainment – and just like other forms of popular entertainment (music, movies, TV shows, even books!), not everything is appropriate for younger audiences. Keeping an open dialogue with your kids about video games from the very beginning is the best way to stay involved and understand what your kids are getting out of their favorite games. 

It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with ESRB’s age and content ratings. When your kid asks for a specific game, first check the ESRB rating to get some insight into what’s in the game and whether it’s appropriate for your family.

Second, learn about the many tools and resources available to parents and players by visiting Virtually every device you can play video games on offers parental controls, which are pin or password protected. Parents can set controls to manage when and for how long their kids can play, filter by age rating, limit or block in-game communications, and limit or block buying new games or making in-game purchases. 

And finally, remember that there are meaningful mental, social and emotional benefits to kids who play video games. Kids who play games develop cognitive skills, learn resilience, and other benefits as identified by academic and scientific research.

The future of tech looks a bit different than the world we are in now. As AI and genAI become more common in video games and elsewhere, how should parents and kids navigate these changes? Is there anything potentially unsafe they should look out for?

The video game industry has been using artificial intelligence (AI) for decades to help create games and improve the player experience. New AI tools have the potential to drive further innovations, leading to better experiences for players.

For example, video game companies use both human moderators and advanced technologies to help ensure player safety, from preventing security incidents, to identifying cheating and bullying, to stopping and reporting unlawful or malicious activities. Machine learning, which is a type of AI, can be used as an additional tool to complement these efforts.

And finally, just for fun, what’s your favorite video game, and why?

The great thing about games is that there is a game for everyone! In my household, all three kids play completely different games. One son was the captain of his high school esports team and dominated in Rocket League. Another son plays sports games, primarily PGA Tour and Madden and NBA 2k. And my daughter is the biggest Sims fan – she’s always creating another world and imagining the people who live in it. I prefer to play games that I can play with my kids, so I’m always looking for the next fun multiplayer game. Regardless of your interests and hobbies, there is a game for you. Everyone can benefit from the Power of Play.

Written by

Aubrey Quinn

Aubrey Quinn has served as ESA’s Senior Vice President for Communications & Public Affairs since 2022. Prior to joining ESA, Aubrey held the role of Partner & Chief Operating Officer at Clyde Group, where she provided strategic communications counsel to tech, healthcare and financial service clients. During her time at Clyde Group, Aubrey grew the firm from six employees to over 60 and increased revenue from approximately $1 million to nearly $20 million. She also oversaw the firm’s talent strategies and Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity & Accountability (IDEA) efforts.

Aubrey’s earlier career included roles at boutique public relations agencies, where she specialized in crisis communications and issues management. She also served as Vice President, Communications for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, where she helped introduce Extra Life, the national fundraising campaign that harnesses the power of the video game community to raise money for local children’s hospitals around the country. Through Extra Life, gamers have raised more than $100 million for children’s hospitals since 2008.