The Play Smart, Play Safe study, which surveyed 2,500 parents, found that games are a "great social experience". Sixty-one percent of parents allowed their children to play games labelled with a higher age rating, although 42 percent were worried about their sons and daughters communicating with older users online.
More than fifty percent said games bring families closer together. However, the Microsoft-backed report also surveyed 1,000 children, and found 69 percent of them wanted their parents to keep a closer eye on the age certificates of the games they played.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Eight-one percent of British children play computer games at least once a week, according to the research, with more than 75 percent playing against other gamers online.
Mike Rawlinson, director-general of the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELPSA), told The Telegraph that the fact that so many children are playing games online "reinforces the need for a single age ratings system that protects British children, both on- and off-line, now and in the future".
"This is why the games industry is totally committed to PEGI, the independently regulated Pan-European Game Information System, which we're asking the government to enforce through UK law," he said.