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ELSPA "concerned" by Byron proposals

Thu 27 Mar 2008 1:44pm GMT / 9:44am EDT / 6:44am PDT
Politics

Industry body backs findings, but seeks reassurances on new ratings structure

ELSPA director general Paul Jackson is "concerned" that the key recommendations of the Byron Review may "struggle to keep up with the public's increasing desire to buy and play online."

While welcoming the overall findings of Dr Tanya Byron's government-backed report on protecting children from inappropriate content in games and on the Internet, Jackson also said that the games industry would need "to be reassured that the BBFC would be capable of delivering against any new remit."

One of the Review's main recommendations is that the BBFC would rate all games for children aged 12 and over, working in tandem with the voluntary PEGI system, which would continue to classify games below that threshold.

"We believe in one legally enforceable system for classification of video games and to build increased public awareness of both the age ratings system and the long-standing availability and use of parental controls on all games consoles," Jackson added.

The BBFC does not rate titles distributed digitally. In a statement this morning the ratings body insisted it would be "ready" to undertake any greater responsibility.

Jackson's full statement reads as follows:

"We fully support Dr Byron's advice to parents on the use of technology in the home and parental awareness of their children's activities, including the need for wider awareness of age ratings on video games.

"We believe in one legally enforceable system for classification of video games and to build increased public awareness of both the age ratings system and the long-standing availability and use of parental controls on all games consoles.

"However, we are concerned that the proposals as they stand may struggle to keep up with the public’s increasing desire to buy and play online.

"The games industry would need to be re-assured that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) would be capable of delivering against any new remit, or whether PEGI may be more appropriate. We welcome the news that the Government wishes to consult with the industry on any changes to the classification system.”

"We look forward to working very closely with Government over the next few months to address these concerns as the implications of the review are fully understood."

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