The BBFC has been the rating system used in the UK for quite a few years for all media, that’s changing from today as PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) becomes the new governing standard for all videogames to help distinguish age ratings.
However, just because PEGI is now the new single system, the ratings still have the same effect as the BBFC. For example, if a game was rated 12 by the BBFC, the PEGI rating will still have the same lawful enforcement and anyone below that age will not be allowed to buy the game.
The system is aimed towards parents to be able to control what their children play, any considerate parent wouldn’t allow their child (or children) to play violent games like the GTA franchise, Gears of War or even The Sims 3, which although isn’t violent, contains content that is only suitable for ages 12 and above.
There are and can be exceptions of course, The Sims 3 mostly contains things that are slightly more mature such as ‘WooHoo’, while not as explicit as virtually simulated sex could be, it’s something that forces the rating to a 12 instead of 7+.
UKIE has released results from a poll conducted on parents of children below the age of 18:
- Nearly all parents (92%) recognise the benefits that playing video games can have on their children, including educational benefits (58%), that they allow children to be creative (53%) and that they provide entertainment (77%).
- Other benefits cited include increased co-ordination, strategic thinking and team-work.
- Parents would benefit from guidance on which video games are suitable for their families. Over 1 in 3 parents (34%) admit to having given in and bought a video game that was unsuitable for their child, with 86% saying that the new PEGI system is required and almost a third already believing the PEGI ratings will help them choose which games are suitable for their children.
- The survey also found that over a quarter of parents (26%) never play video games with their children, with mums and dads both equally unlikely to join in with the potential for family fun.
It’s also up to the parents to educate their children, so that they understand why they’re not allowed to play games which are rated above their age. Professor Tanya Byron said:
It’s great to see that parents recognise that playing video games can form a positive part of their children’s activities. Video games can be a great educational resource that can also fuel children’s creativity. It would be great to see parents taking an interest in their children’s video game playing. This can involve taking direct control of what games their children play at home, how they play them and for how long through taking note of the PEGI ratings, as well as using parental controls which are in-built on all modern video games consoles. What’s more, it would be great to see more parents joining in the fun of playing video games together as a family.