Microsoft, the maker of the Xbox line of consoles and games, says that UK parents "view video games positively".

The company's second annual "Play Smart, Play Safe" study is said to reveal that 61% think games are a great social experience, 52% say video games bring their families together and 80% see gaming as a "vital component in a balanced blend of modern and traditional entertainment".

Microsoft says that since last year there's been an increase in understanding about parent controls available on consoles with awareness up 13%.

According to Microsoft, 94% of UK parents feel personally responsible for checking the age rating of games. A recent YouGov study for the BBFC showed that three quarters of parents wanted independent regulation of the game's content.

Microsoft is also keen to highlight statements recently issued in a report from the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee, which "confirms" that video games have a "broadly beneficial effect on the mental development of children", and that "video games do not only have a recreational value, but can also be used for educational and medical purposes".

The PEGI age rating system that Microsoft supports has come in for criticism as being too confusing, and not going far enough to safeguard children against unsuitable content, however Mike Rawlinson, director general of the games trade body ELSPA stands by the system:

“With 76% of children now playing videogames online, this 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 are asking the government to enforce through UK law”.