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Byron Report – more pre-release detail

Thursday, 27th March 2008 10:02 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Loads of stuff here, in far more detail than the BBC report. This is the same article we quoted earlier. The report will recommend:

  • New codes of practice to regulate social networking sites, such as Bebo and Facebook, including clear standards on privacy and harmful content;
  • A gold standard for the use of console games, including clear set-up guidance for parents on issues such as pin codes and locks;
  • Better information for parents on how to block children accessing some websites. Byron has been struck that the technology exists to impose timers and filters, but there has been little take-up, knowledge or development of the technology;
  • A new law based on a 2006 Law Commission recommendation making it unlawful to assist suicide on the internet;
  • A national council to implement her strategy, with a fixed timetable for industry experts; a parents’ panel and child development experts to implement her recommendations.

From the piece:

Classifications are likely to be refined on the basis that what may be deemed appropriate for someone approaching 18 may well not be appropriate for someone of nine or 10.

At present most video games are simply licensed for general use or for those aged over 18 years.

The new classification system will be clearer, with one set of logos and much more explicit descriptions of content and context on the packaging. She is also likely to propose a clearer law stating when games cannot be sold under that age.

The British Board of Film Classification system gives no indication about contents of games or detail of why an age rating has been given. Research published by the IPPR thinktank this week suggested some children were spending 20 hours a week on the internet, almost three times higher than the previous estimates.

The final report’s nowhere to be seen yet.

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