Tanya Byron’s report into violent games and ‘young people's access to inappropriate digital entertainment’ has finally been published today. It contains a raft of common-sense recommendations for improving games ratings and educating parents about the dangers of the internet.
New game ratings
Following hot on the heels of the recent Manhunt 2/BBFC furore, Byron recommends that the overall ratings systems for games is significantly overhauled and improved.
“I recommend a hybrid classification system in which BBFC logos are on the front of all games (ie 18, 15, 12, PG and U). PEGI will continue to rate all 3+ and 7+ games and their equivalent logos (across all age ranges) will be on the back of all boxes.”
The report goes on to recommend: “Sustained, high profile and targeted efforts by the industry to increase parents’ understanding and use of age-ratings and controls on consoles.”
It continues: “That the statutory requirement to age classify games be extended to include those receiving 12+ ratings.”
Renegade retailers penalised
Byron also recommends that shopkeepers who sell games to children aged younger than the rating on the box should face a £5,000 fine or a prison term of up to six months.
"Parents are afraid to let their children out," Byron summed up. "So they keep them at home, but allow them to take risks online."
Critics weigh in
While critics on the left will no doubt tag Byron’s report as being indicative of what they claim to be the government’s drive towards increasing censorship, critics on the right will likely have a pop at Tanya Byron for not going far enough in her recommendations.
All in, it’s a useful, measured report with some strong and common-sensical recommendations. TechRadar only hopes that the games industry and the government take these recommendations seriously and act on them quickly and efficiently.
Stay tuned for responses to the report from ELSPA, the BBFC and MPs Ed Balls and Andy Burnham shortly.
The full report weighs in at a whopping 224 pages and can be viewed in full via the website link to the right of this story.