National Video Game Day 2024 - Xbox

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. Kim Kunes, Vice President, Gaming Trust & Safety at Microsoft, had the following advice to share.

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

Play together! One of the first steps in digital parenting is to understand the apps and services your children are using and, in gaming, the best way to do that is to explore together. At every age, this offers you a chance to get to know the environments where your children are spending time, who they are playing with, and to talk to them in the moment about safe and positive gaming. It’s a great way to have fun together and to connect as a family, while learning. You can also start with our great Cyber Safe series in Minecraft Education. Aimed at young people aged 7-11, these games are deliberately designed to teach cyber and digital safety skills.

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

 At Xbox, we take our responsibility to society and the gaming community very seriously. We strive to create a place where everyone can play within the boundaries they set, free from fear and intimidation. This means we are working every day to improve our multifaceted safety strategies. We have clear Xbox Community Standards that outline acceptable content and conduct in our community and use a range of proactive technology and tools to detect and remove problematic content before it is even seen. We also offer reporting tools for our players, an appeals process, and a new enforcement strike system to help educate players in the moment of enforcement. You can see more about what we do in our latest Xbox Transparency Report, which we release every six months.

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

Take the time to understand our safety features and don’t hesitate to use them. Start by creating a family group and child account for your family, which is simple to do. Accounts are age-specific and parents can get notified in relation to a range of activities. Using the Xbox Family Settings App, you can easily personalize your child’s online experience, including privacy settings, content filters, and more. Our Gaming Safety Toolkit is also designed to help you make the most of these features. 

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?

Generative AI is going to unlock huge creative, educational and other opportunities for young people – but as with any new technology, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks. Our research, in partnership with youth organization 4-H, tells us that 72% of kids are seeking support from adults in learning how to use these tools correctly and with confidence. To help navigate the AI era, we’ve provided some tips in our Microsoft Family Safety Toolkit but two key things jump to mind. Firstly, understand the limits of the technology, for example by explaining what AI is and by checking information. Secondly, like any tool, encourage young people to use it responsibly, including to ensure that synthetic content is not used to harm others.

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

My favorite game is Hearthstone Battlegrounds. I love that I can play on my PC, phone, or iPad, so it’s totally portable. I also like that each game is about 20-30 minutes so I can play as a quick break and recharge. And in the Battlegrounds mode of Hearthstone all players start out as equals (no advantage for purchased cards or advanced lobbies) and have to use their skills in each game to build their lobby and design a strategy to win based on what’s available to all 8 players in that Game. The seasons of Hearthstone move fast and the team at Blizzard is always finding creative ways to shift how players need to approach matches strategically based on evolved quests, rules, and heroes. It keeps me on my toes and stretches my creative problem solving as I recruit and design for battle!

Written by

Kim Kunes

Kim leads the Xbox Safety, Trust, and Responsibility team, combining 16 years of experience at Microsoft with a passion for ensuring gaming communities are safe and welcoming for all players. Amplified by a shared commitment to Privacy, Accessibility, the responsible application of AI, and a passion for the next generation of gamers (Family), the team also invests in digital health and wellness technologies that deliver world class content detection and moderation solutions for Xbox players, Microsoft services, and external partners and customers.