Following this week’s news that wary glances are being cast behind the scenes of Tanja Byron’s upcoming report, British national daily The Guardian is this morning carrying, “Ministers plan clampdown on ‘unsuitable’ video games” as its main headline.
The story mirrors earlier reports this week in that it claims the Byron Report is to recommend a legal classification system for all games, but goes into further detail about plans to advise parents to not allow children to play games in their bedrooms and to only let them use computers and games consoles in places where the screens are clearly visible.
According to the piece, “A legally enforceable, cinema-style classification system is to be introduced for video games in an effort to keep children from playing damaging games unsuitable for their age… Under the proposals it would be illegal for shops to sell classified games to a child below the recommended age.
“At present only games showing sex or ‘gross’ violence to humans or animals require age limits. That leaves up to 90% of games on the market, many of which portray weapons, martial arts and extreme combat, free from statutory labelling.
Ministers are expected to advise parent to keep computers and games consoles away from children’s bedrooms as much as possible, and ask them to play games in living rooms or kitchens facing outwards so carers can see what is being played.”
The report doesn’t mention the BBFC as being the body to handle a new classification system, instead leading with a strap of, “New rating scheme devised.” Currently, only a handful of games are classified by the BBFC, with most in the UK carrying the voluntary PEGI rating.
The Byron Report, due next month, includes a lengthy review of studies into the effects of games on children, and has been discussed with the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Ministers are now said to have a “sense of the report’s direction”, said the Guardian’s piece, on which the article is based.