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Press Statement: Violent Computer Games

Tuesday 7 December 2004/... BARD will this Friday be joining the Government and the games industry to discuss ways of strengthening consumer understanding of the games classification system used in the UK and tackling the wider issue of the sale of games to under age consumers.

As has been demonstrated in other sectors of the Entertainment Retail Industry, BARD and its members provide in store training and supervision and are very supportive of Government and industry initiatives to educate parents and consumers regarding games labelling and in particular content warnings on 18 certificate games. In the past, BARD retailers have worked successfully with the video and music industries to provide in store parental guidance on age appropriate labelling and will gladly work with the Games Publishing Industry on similar initiatives.

Parental education and control is particularly vital given the fact that at least 25% of all computer games are sold via car boot fairs and markets, where often there is scant regard for the age of purchasers or the intended users. Indeed there is a great deal of trade in illegal copies, which further aggravates the issue of underage users. BARD hopes that the Government will ensure that the penalties for those who sell or rent BBFC classified games to those under age, are also fully applied those who operate via these non-traditional channels and looks forward to the Government providing Local Authorities with the resources and obligation to tackle and monitor these operators.

Retailers should and could not act as computer games censors but take their moral duties as guardians of the ratings system very seriously. To that end all BARD retailers operate their own systems and training programmes designed to educate staff and consumers as to the rating systems in place for all entertainment products, including computer games. As Christmas approaches and millions of games are likely to be purchased by third parties as gifts it is ever more vital that parents and consumers understand the true nature of what they are purchasing.

For further information please contact:

Kim Bayley

BARD

Tel 01202 292063

e-mail: kim@bardltd.org

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