The UK government is set to introduce a legally enforceable classification system for games, according to The Guardian.
In its lead story on Saturday The Guardian reports that the cinema-style classification system will come into force in an attempt to stop children from playing unsuitable titles, and will make it illegal to sell mature-rated games to minors.
An investigation into violence in videogames, the current ratings system and its effectiveness is currently being carried out as part of the Byron review, the findings of which are due to be published next month. However, education and culture ministers are already said to have a sense of the report’s direction and how it will be used to reshape regulatory guidelines.
According to The Guardian, 90 percent of games on the market, many of which portray weapons and extreme combat, are currently free form age ratings because only “games showing sex or “gross” violence to humans or animals require age limits”.
Ministers are expected to advise parents to keep computers and games consoles in view of carers and away from children’s bedrooms, while details of “blocking mechanisms” limiting access to unsuitable games, emails or internet sites are expected to be announced.
The Department for Children, School and Families and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are said to have already discussed the Byron review, and “Ministers are anxious to strike a balance between the entertainment, knowledge and pleasure children gain from highly profitable internet and computer games, as well as the dangers inherent in the unregulated world of the net and its overuse by children.”
Ministers are also reportedly willing to examine recent proposals to establish an “internet standards authority that would ensure that service providers offer a two-tier system with users able to pick content suitable for adults or children”, while MP Julian Brazier is set to bring forward a private members bill that would give powers to a new body to appeal against decisions made by the BBFC on videogame and DVD classification.