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PEGI discusses, “sensationalist stories and pointing fingers” after GTA 5 age criticsm

Wednesday, 2nd October 2013 12:24 GMT By Dave Cook

Grand Theft Auto 5 was snapped in the hands of an under-age kid last week, prompting the usual wave of tabloid witch-hunting and claims that age-rating body PEGI wasn’t doing enough to safeguard the nation’s youth. The group has now responded.

Speaking with MCV, PEGI’s Dirk Bosmans said on the matter “The industry organises campaigns on a regular basis to inform as many consumers as possible. Every single bit of marketing should carry a PEGI label. So each time the game is marketed on the side of a bus, on TV, or in magazines, you will see the PEGI label.

“Parents who take a sincere interest in what their kids are playing will have found out about PEGI ratings. We cannot force them to do that. Ironically, the only ones not inclined to share information about PEGI, are the tabloids. Lots of sensationalist stories and pointing fingers, but hardly a paragraph on age ratings and the responsibility that parents carry as well.”

UKIE CEO Jo Twist offered a second opinion, “The games industry takes the health and wellbeing of players very seriously. We’re always looking at new ways to raise awareness of PEGI, for example we have an askaboutgames stand at this year’s Eurogamer Expo.”

What is your take on this long-running issue? Let us know below.

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11 Comments

  1. VibraniumSpork

    Huuuuuuuge topic. Few right and wrong answers.

    From my perspective though, I’ll say this for Rockstar; cheats notwithstanding, it’s incredibly difficult to go on a killing/murder spree in this game unpunished. Almost to my disappointment, if you just up and start killing randoms in this instalment, the Cops will shut you down in a heartbeat. Surely a ‘decent’ lesson for kids in there somewhere….

    And also, there’s an assumption that as soon as kids pick up GTA they revert to their basest, most savage and aggressive tendencies; raping, killing stealing. My young nephews are actually more jazzed about being able to drive around in an open world cautiously, stopping at traffic lights, giving way to the right, and executing perfect parallel parking. Jus’ sayin’.

    #1 12 months ago
  2. Joe Musashi

    @Article: ““Parents who take a sincere interest in what their kids are playing will have found out about PEGI ratings. We cannot force them to do that. Ironically, the only ones not inclined to share information about PEGI, are the tabloids. Lots of sensationalist stories and pointing fingers, but hardly a paragraph on age ratings and the responsibility that parents carry as well.””

    I think that’s an excellent, succinct summary of the situation as a whole. Very well put by The Man From PEGI.

    JM

    #2 12 months ago
  3. Dave Cook

    @2 Superb eh? Very frank and correct.

    #3 12 months ago
  4. NiceFellow

    Ratings are just a guide. It’s mainly down to parents to enforce and of course retail/sales outlets too.

    The majority of kids getting their hands on stuff like this are doing so fully endorsed by their parents.

    Not that I agree with enforced restrictions as such – but if a government/country really wants to get strict then it actually needs to impose clear/strong fines/punishment for parents and sellers who put stuff in kids hands. I’m not a fan of nanny state just noting that’s the only real way to restrict the majority of under-age access.

    #4 12 months ago
  5. ArithonUK

    Tabloids stick waving to sell their worthless rags? Whatever next? Shocker!

    The games have a clearly displayed rating. The staff in GAME are very clear on age rating. Only a parent that doesn’t care would give an unsuitable game to a child not prepared for the content.

    Trouble is “Blame the parents” is more a truism than a headline.

    #5 12 months ago
  6. bradk825

    I know where I shop at EB Games, I’ve seen many parents warned at the counter “This is an M rated game, it is meant to be played by adults only” when it’s clear they are buying for a 12 year old standing beside them. They have always bought the game anyway in my experience. You don’t get to blame the game industry for that.

    #6 12 months ago
  7. TheBlackHole

    @4

    “Ratings are just a guide.”

    Actually, no. They will be law in the UK, much like film ratings.

    #7 12 months ago
  8. RefuseBunny

    Well, the PEGI label on the box is a legal requirement in the UK. It is also illegal for a retailer to sell any age restricted game to persons below the age of restriction. This came into effect in 2012.

    It is down to a parents discretion to decide if their child is mature enough to play an 18 rated game. Ultimately, it’s the parents responsibility to police their own children. A fact that some people (or tabloids stretched for a new scandal) clearly don’t seem to understand.

    Anyone who criticises PEGI for not doing enough clearly hasn’t looked into the PEGI system. I think it’s time to start talking about parents who buy these games for their children.

    #8 12 months ago
  9. Cobra951

    @8: Or maybe it’s time to stop trying to stir up a tempest in a teapot? Movie ratings, voluntary or mandatory, have been with us forever. No one seems to be making a huge hairy deal about parents letting 12-year-olds watch R-rated movies on pay per view. Games have followed suit, and don’t deserve this kind of witch-hunt mentality. (I don’t think they ever did.)

    #9 12 months ago
  10. NiceFellow

    @7 I know but they are currently completely un-enforceable particularly with digital content. Ratings can be enforced at a cinema because you can be observed and your age judged. Once it’s bought in a shop by parents or simply ordered online all control is lost.

    Hence my point – the only real way to enforce it is to have a mechanism to identify parents buying for children and prosecute them. I’m not in favor of that mind – I’m just noting otherwise it’s all hot air that cannot be enforced anyway.

    For any sensible parent though they’re a guide just as with films – the problem is knowing which parents sensibly judge their children’s maturity and allow access accordingly and which don’t.

    As an example I have a 12 year old I wouldn’t let watch Poltergeist because they are very prone to nightmares (Poltergeist being a 12 in UK right) yet I’d let them watch Airplane which is a 15 because they’re completely okay with and more than mature enough to understand.

    Really the issue is about trying to apply a “one size” fits all to children of differing maturity and circumstances with zero ability to enforce anything anyway – i.e. perfect tabloid fodder.

    #10 12 months ago
  11. gomersoul

    Punishment for parents is ridiculous, many parents are under huge pressure to buy their children these games for fear of them being bullied by their friends.. pegi can put what they want on a box but it’s up to a parent to judge their child’s maturity.. show me concrete evidence that there is a widespread problem with children turning into murderers because of games and I’ll care. Until then it’s just tabloid scaremongering

    #11 12 months ago

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