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Byron: Responsibility Regarding Children And Violent Games Cannot Be "Subcontracted" To The Industry

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
PEGI, Tanya Byron, Violence, Violent games

Tanya Byron, author of the 2008 report that called for a unified and detailed classification for video games, has echoed her words in that report once more, saying that parents must be responsible for their children's gaming habits, and that such responsibility cannot be "subcontracted" to the industry itself.

"When I did the review in 2008, I didn’t see a cynical industry that was there to create games just to exploit and make money," said Byron. "The industry has always been very clear with me, in a very genuine way, that adult content is created for adults – it’s not created for kids."

We'll gloss over the bit where EA marketed an 18-rated game to American teens (see the vid above), but Byron's point is rather that her goal has always been about offering clarity regarding the creation of content and spreading consumer understanding.

“This has never been about putting the blame on the gaming industry. It’s actually, I think, to have a very simple, streamlined system which the games industry is working really clearly with to make happen and being really responsible about letting people understand the content they’re making and who it’s for.”

“But the gaming industry is fully supporting and enabling parents to get access to information wherever they can about these issues so fundamentally then it is all about the parents.”

Byron's point is that industry transparency can help to educate and empower parents, and that the industry as a whole should not be held to account for clearly marked adult material falling into the wrong hands.

“We cannot subcontract responsibility for how children play games to the industry,” Byron continued, “but I think now the industry has got a much clearer system what we see is an industry that’s being absolutely transparent about what they’re producing and how parents should be thinking about it when their kids are playing.”

“And now it’s fundamentally about educating and empowering parents because that’s where the regulation really lies when it comes to children and gaming.” [Metro]

Byron's right in a way, but we're a pretty cynical bunch here at Dealspwn. And as much as these new classifications help to create more transparency, which can only be a good thing, we rather hope that certain publishers and their marketing departments take note as well.

How about you guys? Let us know your thoughts on the matter below.

Add a comment7 comments
rookieoftheyear  Aug. 6, 2012 at 15:25

It's absolutely down to the parents. I work in video game retail and it's shocking just what parents will buy for their kids when they have absolutely no idea what the kid's going to be exposed to. The ratings are essentially ignored.

I had a chap come in last week with his son who I'd have guessed was around 8-10. And the kid's bugging him for Saints Row the Third. I point out where it is and say to the father that it might not be my place to say (for what it's worth, I believe it is exactly my place to say, but I have to use that preface as some people get really arsey when you "try to tell them what's best"), but SRIII is particularly gratuitous what with the sex toy weaponry, language and nudity. He is understandably concerned and refuses to buy. Fair enough, but the kid starts whining and insisting that he's played Gears of War 3. About 5 minutes later, having heard this child badgering his dad over and over, they show up to the till with Saints Row.

I do what I can, but if a parent is just going to give in to a whining child, the ratings are pretty much worthless.

Quietus  Aug. 6, 2012 at 16:45

Agreed. I recall once when I explained to a mother that the the original GTA contained various adult references, such as a woman telling you to hurry up in taking her to her man, as the back seat was all wet, and that she was gagging for it. Her face dropped. Quietus wins. Flawless victory.8)

Shadowmancer88  Aug. 6, 2012 at 17:58

With the new PEGI system in law now, is it illegal to sell a adult game if it is obvious that it is for a minor and not an adult?

Quietus  Aug. 6, 2012 at 21:14

Obvious or not makes no real difference. Some people look older than their age, and others look younger, so don't take the risk. They are either old enough or they are not. Over 18s will normally have photo ID to prove their age, and those under 18 can always get a citizen's card if necessary.

Short answer: Yes, it's illegal.

Shadowmancer88  Aug. 6, 2012 at 21:32

Obvious or not makes no real difference. Some people look older than their age, and others look younger, so don't take the risk. They are either old enough or they are not. Over 18s will normally have photo ID to prove their age, and those under 18 can always get a citizen's card if necessary.

Short answer: Yes, it's illegal.


Sorry I meant buying an adult game when it is for a child if they are present or not.

rookieoftheyear  Aug. 7, 2012 at 11:27

No, as long as the person directly involved in the transaction is of legal age, that's all that matters. We're always trained that it's a moral issue and you should explain to them why the age rating has been applied, but it tends to wind people up rather than keep them informed.

I know personally if I see someone underage bothering other customers in store to buy a game for them, I will throw them out. Similarly, if someone comes to buy for a child they clearly don't know, I will refuse the sale.

hurrakan  Aug. 9, 2012 at 12:19

True for everything - e.g. Internet censorship etc.

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