Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Games ratings BBFC

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has ordered a review of the games ratings system. This review is currently being carried out by renowned psychologist Tanya Byron, who has proved level headed in this field in the past.

The problem is that the games industry needs to work much harder in educating parents and leading the government and other governing bodies to take the same line. They need to be aware of their responsibilities on censoring the games that their children play. It's unfair to blame the software industry for making these adult themed games. The average age for a gamer is now well over the drinking age limit and targeting adult games at the average person who buys them is just good business sense.

I last year over Christmas I took a temp job in a game shop, and the rules were quite strict, no child can purchase a game with out proof of id for any games with certification. Problem was if there is a parent or adult with them they can buy it for them. Unlike alcohol or cigarettes there is no "intent to supply" clause available for staff and parents are happy to buy these games for their kids. The game industry needs to make the following message abundantly clear to everyone: Adult games should not be played by kids.

It's simple really. If it has an 18 certificate on it then it is not meant to be played by your 13-year-old child, no matter how much they hassle you, no matter how many of their friends have it. Of course kids are going to want to play these games but age certification is there for a reason.

Some say that video games have a bigger psychological effect than movies because of the interaction involved, but shouldn't we focus on making sure that kids don't watch those movies or play those games in the first place?

Lets hope the awareness raised by this review on gaming certification will provoke some thought in those responsible for children. When recommended certification by the BBFC has been around for years, do you think they really take any more notice?