Friday, March 28, 2008

The Byron review review

The Department of Children, Schools and Families is hosting the Byron review (PDF). Do make sure you download and read them carefully. There has been plenty of misinterpretation by the mainstream mass media (The Sun's sister paper The Times, erroneously suggested that video games will carry ciggies style health warning is completely made up - though not surprising considering their past opinions) on what the Byron review actually says and what they (the media) wants it to say.

One of the key summary from Tanya Byron that made an impression is how she thinks that society needs to move from a debate about whether or not new media (Internet and video gaming) cause harm to young people. She also points out ultimately that parental responsibility is a key factor in preventing violent video games from falling into minors. Concerned parents are said to hardly restrict access to the games their children are playing and are oblivious to the content due to misinterpreting PEGI ratings. She recommends that a parental awareness campaign be put into place (something I agree with) and to be funded by the games industry.

Further the BBFC rating will appear on all games requiring 12, 15 and 18 certificate with the PEGI rating at the back (previously only 15 and 18 games that has 'film'-like content requires them). PEGI will continue rating 3+ and 7+ games. This is because many parents are unaware of how the PEGI system works, preferring to trust their purchasing decisions on the more well known and established BBFC rating system. Personally I think it is a waste of time and good money. PEGI is fine as it is (apart from some questionable back icons). The BBFC age logo does not tell a parent anything more than a PEGI age rating already does. Last I heard, 18 means 18. Mind you, I quite like the BBFC logo, but again it is such a waste of time and money. It would be better to spend the money on educating the public on the merits of the PEGI rating system, rather than hemorrhaging them (something the British government does best).

A more detailed commentary is provided by the good people at British Gaming Blog and Eurogamer.

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