The Votes Are In: 10 Parent-Teen Teams Selected as Microsoft’s Safer Gaming Ambassadors

REDMOND, Wash. — June 8, 2009 — As part of its Get Game Smart public service campaign, Microsoft Corp. today announced the formation of a new consumer panel made up of 10 teens and their parents, who will help educate other families on ways to enjoy safer interactive entertainment at home. The Get Game Smart Ambassadors represent families from eight cities across the country who, through the use of an interactive Web site, blog and online social community, are demonstrating their commitment to safer video gaming and inspiring their peers to tackle this issue. The 10 Ambassador teams were chosen by popular vote on based on a short video they submitted, highlighting their families’ approach to balanced video gaming and media use.

In an age of widespread social media and online gaming use, kids and parents alike are navigating the do’s and don’ts of the digital world. In the face of new technologies and the online world, consumers are eager for tools and resources that help their families enjoy interactive entertainment in a safer and healthier way.

“As parents, we teach our kids the importance of wearing a bike helmet and buckling their seatbelt, but for some reason we’ve missed the boat on teaching our kids similar precautions for online and video game use,” said Get Game Smart Ambassador Jason Richardson from Brentwood, Tenn. “My stepson and I both love to play video games, so we jumped at the chance to get involved in creating fun, safer experiences for gamers of all ages. With so many tools available, there’s no reason for video gaming to be scary for parents.”

Get Game Smart Ambassadors will share their unique perspectives on the concerns, issues and challenges related to video games and other interactive media. The Ambassadors will contribute tips and information to the campaign’s Web site ( and blog, provide insight on their challenges and solutions related to balanced media use, and help educate families within their communities on these issues. To find the new Ambassadors, Microsoft invited parents and teens to participate in the Get Game Smart Video Contest, which culminated in the selection of 10 winning teams that received an entertainment prize package and an invitation to participate in the Get Game Smart Ambassador program.

As part of their ongoing effort to reach out to parents and teens and open the lines of communication about a responsible digital lifestyle, Microsoft’s new Get Game Smart Ambassadors are sharing their tips for limiting friction and maintaining a healthy media diet in the home, including the following:

Get on the same page. “Talk openly with your kids about their media habits and set boundaries that encourage safe, balanced and fun entertainment experiences.” — Laura Moorhead, Ambassador (Seattle)

Encourage balance. “Make sure your children enjoy outside activities that keep them active and busy. School work, sports and other extracurricular activities come before game time.” — Lisa McDaniel, Ambassador (Versailles, Ky.)

Set priorities. “Set minimums on school grades that must be earned in order to play video games.” — Bonnie Severson, Ambassador (Greenwood, Ind.)

Get involved. “Play video games with your children to get a sense of their behavior online.” — Jason Richardson, Ambassador (Brentwood, Tenn.)

Set limits. “Familiarize yourself with the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings and use parental controls to select age-appropriate content.” — Martin Waters, Ambassador (Hannover, Minn.)

“As a parent myself, I understand we tend to turn to other parents for advice on the suitability of video games or other digital entertainment for our children,” said Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment & Devices Division at Microsoft. “By working hand in hand with this group of parents and teens, we hope to inspire a more productive dialogue with families, communities, the media and the industry around healthy and balanced media use.”

The Get Game Smart Campaign takes a first-of-its-kind approach to helping parents and kids establish healthy habits for playing video games, watching TV and browsing the Web. The hub of the campaign is at Designed for busy parents, the Web site provides quick guides and short videos on parental controls, expert tips on Internet and video game safety, and an online community where families can share ideas, advice and fun family activities related to balanced media use. Since the site launched in January 2009, more than 7,000 families have participated in its Family Challenge and completed more than 25,000 activities related to addressing their household’s media diet. Those who want more information on Get Game Smart and the Ambassadors, or who want to join the conversation, can do so at

About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is a premier video game and entertainment system. It is home to the best and broadest games as well as the largest on-demand library of standard- and high-definition movies and TV shows connected to the television — with music coming this fall. The digital center of the living room, Xbox 360 blends unbeatable content with the largest online social network of 20 million members on Xbox LIVE to create a limitless entertainment experience that can be shared at home or across the globe. With the addition of currently code-named “Project Natal,” Xbox 360 will forever transform social gaming and entertainment with a whole new way to play — no controller required. More information about “Project Natal” and Xbox 360 can be found online at and

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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