Gaming service Metaboli has unveiled free parental control software that can help parents ensure children don't play games featuring inappropriate content.
Research by the gaming service revealed 45 percent of parents aren't always aware of the content of computer games played by their children, while one in five want more control over the games kids play, including the amount of time they spend playing them.
The new software, which Metaboli says takes just two minutes to set up, allows parents to log-in to the service as an administrator and create different profiles for up to five children and then specify the amount of time they spend playing games, as well as the types of games they play.
Parents can dictate the number of hours per day and per week their children spend playing games downloaded through the service, as well as blocking games depending on their age rating. Metaboli uses the PEGI system of age classification, which the government recently announced would be used to classify games in the UK.
Parents can also block games based on their genre and their content - gambling, abusive language and violence, for example. They can also manually blocking specific games. Parents can even elect to block access to the service completely so that when children try to log-in to the site, they are unable to play games.
"It's the first-of-its kind to offer parents active control of all aspects of their children's computer gaming, and we hope that it will help them better organise and manage this experience," said Paul Howes, regional director for Metaboli.
The gaming service also urged parents using the software to explain the reasons why they have blocked certain games or implemented a time limit.
"It is important to establish the game time planning with the child and explain the reasons for the limitations to help the child understand and accept them," added Olivier Decrock, Metaboli's CEO.
Metaboli has recently expanded its gaming pack offering. Alongside the Gamer Pack, which costs £6.95 per month and the Premium Pack, which is priced at £12.95 per month, Metaboli now offers the Chill-Out pack. Also priced at £6.95 per month, Metaboli says the games included in the pack are geared towards children under ten and women.
The service allows users to download and play as many games per month, from publishers such as Electronic Arts, Rockstar and Sega, as they like. Players can also stream a game while it is downloading, ensuring they can start playing the game after a couple of minutes rather than waiting for the game to completely download.
Metaboli says each pack features a new game every week and there is no minimum contract term.
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