WASHINGTON — June 23, 2010 — Microsoft Corp. and Get Game Smart, in cooperation with several members of Congress, will host the first Capitol Hill Family Game Night tonight. Members of Congress, congressional staff members and their families will gather to learn helpful tips on managing their family’s digital media use. Attendees will have the opportunity to demo Xbox 360 parental controls and play the latest family-friendly Xbox 360 titles such as “The Beatles: Rock Band,” “Lips: Number One Hits” and “Forza Motorsport 3.”
The event, held in cooperation with Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), is aimed at educating families on how to enjoy video games and online media in ways that are safer, healthier and more balanced. Attendees, who also will include members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and their parents, will tour interactive stations, where they will have the opportunity to play the latest games while learning about establishing rules for what and how family members should play, watch and browse.
“The Get Game Smart program is connecting families across the country with the tools and resources needed to teach their children how to use technology responsibly and more safely,” said Fred Humphries, Managing Director U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft. “Tonight, we’re bringing the program’s tools and resources to our nation’s lawmakers so they can not only use them with their own families but also share them with constituents in their home districts. We even plan to have a little fun while we’re at it.”
“The very same computers that help our children study and literally place the world’s knowledge at their fingertips can also open up a pathway to risky behavior,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Instead of preventing our children from using the computer or the Internet, or criminalizing speech online that would be permissible on the playground, we must instead teach children how to be good cybercitizens.”
In addition to Xbox 360 games, Microsoft will demonstrate “Kodu,” a visual programming language made specifically for creating games. “Kodu” is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone, with the goal of inspiring the next generation of game developers. The programming environment runs on the Xbox360 console and PC platforms, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input.
“Online gaming and social networking have revolutionized how we communicate with one another and how we entertain ourselves,” Scott said. “However, we all can take steps to help ensure that our digital environment is safe for our children. This event will be an excellent opportunity to educate members of Congress, congressional staff and their families on how parents can be more engaged in, and better understand, the online gaming and social network activities of their children.”
“As the father to two teenagers, I know how concerned parents are about keeping their family safe online,” Rogers said. “Parents are looking for every available safety technique to keep their children out of harm’s way. That is why we are so interested in the new safety technology that is being developed by companies providing online games. The online experience for our children ought to be about having fun and learning how to use technology, not about dangers from criminals who would harm our families through online access.”
“I have long advocated for children’s safety issues,” Shimkus said. “Bringing parental involvement and industry together is vital in order to help protect children from inappropriate graphic violence and sexual situations. Games have moved well beyond ‘Pong’ and Atari from my youth, and we must ensure that all the necessary information is being provided to help parents and their children enjoy appropriate entertainment.”
More information is available at http://www.GetGameSmart.com.
About Get Game Smart
Get Game Smart is a public education program that gives families easy-to-use tools and resources for navigating the digital world in safer, healthier and more balanced ways. Microsoft has collaborated with child safety advocacy groups on this program since January 2009. For more about the program, visit GetGameSmart.com.
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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