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New video games rating system

kid playing_video_game_30_07_12There have long been debates over the effect that violent video games can have on those playing them, especially children. Now, the UK have enforced a new games rating system that will prevent under-age children purchasing and playing games deemed inappropriate.

All video games will now be rated using the Pegi (Pan-European Game Information) system, and those selling titles to children below the 12, 16 or 18 age ratings will be subject to prosecution. As well as a rating, games packaging will detail warnings including drugs, gambling, sex, violence and bad language, in a hope to help families ‘make informed decisions’, say organisers.

The decision to introduce the ratings system was first announced by the Labour government in 2009 in its Digital Britain Report, following the Bryon review into Safer Children in a Digital World.

The government introduced a parallel rating system run by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) – which did not include a 12 rating – but has now adopted one single system to regulate video games rating. It was stated that ‘having a dual classification system and two sets of symbols often made things confusing for the consumer’.

Professor Tanya Byron, a consultant clinical psychologist who led the report which resulted in the change in the law, believes that parents should get more involved with children’s use of technology. ‘It would be great to see parents taking an interest in their children’s video game playing. This can involve taking direct control of what games their children play at home, how they play them and for how long, through taking note of the Pegi ratings.’

Picture credit: Shutterstock

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