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BBFC: 74% of parents want independent ratings

But ELSPA defends Pegi, saying only it can adequately rate increasingly online games

The BBFC has published the results of a survey revealing that three quarters of British parents are concerned about the content of videogames and want independent ratings.

The survey, conducted by YouGov for the BBFC, revealed that 79 per cent of parents believe that videogames affect children's behaviour, 74 per cent wanted games to be regulated by an independent body, and 82 per cent felt it would be beneficial if videogames used the same ratings as films and DVDs.

"This poll clearly shows parents support a regulatory system for games that is independent of the industry and UK based, reflecting UK sensibilities and sensitivities," said David Cooke, director of the BBFC.

"The UK public wants the protection of children to be paramount when regulating games which, of course, reflects the concerns which led to Tanya Byron being asked to produce her report. The BBFC has been classifying games for over 20 years and our decisions reflect the views of the public."

He added: "Our classification systems and symbols are known and trusted by the public and in a converging media world they want to know what their children are playing as well as watching."

This comes as the UK government moves closer to a ruling that could see the BBFC rate all games aimed for 12 year-olds and above, in accordance with the Byron Review recommendations.

Mike Rawlinson, director general of the publisher's body ELSPA, warned that the BBFC would not be capable of adequately rating games, which are increasingly played online.

"Our first concern is to protect British children," commented Rawlinson. "UK parents need a system for videogames age classification that is built with the protection of the new generation of children in mind and as such delivers a robust system that works as well for games bought in-store as played online."

"Gamers no longer just play with their mates but play online, and we need a system that reflects this situation and protects their interests. The independently administered Pegi system is the right solution for child safety."

Rawlinson added: "Naturally we will support the Pegi system with a multi million pound campaign that helps parents understand that the right system for real protection of their children is Pegi."

"Anecdotally, we have conducted our own research with You Gov that confirms our position."

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