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Online video game censorship is good for children but overall bad for adults - discuss...

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8y, 11m agoPosted 8 years, 11 months ago
It seems the Government is now considering proposals for implementing a strict classification system for computer/video game content in line with current age-restrictive censorship of the kind associated with cinema/movie film viewing.

This quote from the piece in "The Guardian" caught my attention...
"Discussions have already been held with internet service providers to see if an agreement on a standardised filter can be reached."

If online video games are to have controls, what is going to be next for Internet censorship...?

===

"'No games in bedrooms', parents advised"
[ http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=181973 ]

Monday 11-Feb-2008 10:20 AM
Mike Jackson
===
"Cinema-style" classification system to be introduced for videogames

The government is expected to advise parents to keep computers and games consoles out of their childrens' bedrooms, as new enforceable classification laws for games look set to be introduced.

According to a report in The Guardian over the weekend, parents will be told to make sure all gaming is done in the living room or kitchen, where the TV is in clear view and activities can be monitored. So no more sneaky games of Resident Evil or GTA for little Johnny.

At present, only games with graphic violence towards humans or animals are subject to strict age limits, yet young children are still able to easily purchase these titles.

Proposals for a new British Standards Institution specification will, however, introduce new filtering systems for game ratings, and make it illegal for shops to sell games to people below the age rating.

This comes as part of an effort to clamp down on young gamers' exposure to unsuitable content in videogames.

A young'un's freedom to browse the web may also be limited as ministers are said to be examining Tory proposals for an internet standards authority that would work with internet providers to filter content available to children.

It's no wonder, considering the bad wrap games have been getting lately, what with the Manhunt 2 ban, and the more recent Mass Effect debacle.

Still, as long as they're not censoring games for us over 18s, it's not a bad thing.
===

"Ministers plan clampdown on 'unsuitable' video games"
[ http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/feb/09/games.digitalmedia ]

* Patrick Wintour, political editor
* The Guardian,
* Saturday February 9 2008

===
New rating scheme devised

Keep computers out of bedrooms, parents told

This article appeared in the Guardian on Saturday February 09 2008 on p1 of the Top stories section. It was last updated at 08:57 on February 11 2008.

A legally enforceable cinema-style classification system is to be introduced for video games in an effort to keep children from playing damaging games unsuitable for their age, the Guardian has learned. Under the proposals, it would be illegal for shops to sell classified games to a child below the recommended age.

At present only games showing sex or "gross" violence to humans or animals require age limits. That leaves up to 90% of games on the market , many of which portray weapons, martial arts and extreme combat, free from statutory labelling.

Ministers are also expected to advise parents to keep computers and games consoles away from children's bedrooms as much as possible, and ask them to play games in living rooms or kitchens facing outward so carers can see what is being played.

Ministers are also expected to recommend blocking mechanisms to protect children from seeing unsuitable games, emails or internet sites. Discussions have already been held with internet service providers to see if an agreement on a standardised filter can be reached.

A review of violence and video games has been commissioned by Gordon Brown from the former television psychologist Tanya Byron. She is officially due to report next month, but education and culture ministers have a sense of the report's direction. She has previously said she would examine the current classification system to see if it is confusing for parents.

The report's contents, which include a lengthy review of the literature on the impact of video games on children, has been discussed between the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 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.

Under the Video Recordings Act, most games are exempt from the British Board of Film Classification and only lose this exemption if they depict, to any significant extent, gross violence against humans or animals. Other games can be classified by a separate, entirely voluntary pan-European scheme administered by the Video Standards Council.

Policing such regimes is difficult as it is possible to buy games over the net and simply tick the box stating the purchaser is over 18.

A new British Standards Institution specification proposed by Ofcom, the communications regulator, and the industry is expected to allow the developers of filtering products to test them against the standard designed to protect children and other users from illegal or unsuitable content. Companies that pass the test will be able to display a child safety online kitemark.

Ministers hope the Byron review will act as a way of calming the debate about video games which has become increasingly polarised and based on prejudice. They say they are also willing to examine proposals made by a Tory MP earlier this week for an internet standards authority to be set up to ensure that service providers offer a two-tier system with users able to pick content suitable for adults or children.

In a further sign of Tory concern, Julian Brazier will bring forward a private member's bill this month giving powers for a new body to appeal against decisions of the BBFC in its classification of video games and DVDs.

Hugo Swire, a former shadow culture secretary, has suggested that the default setting for internet content would be for children, with a password or pin needed for unfiltered material.
===

"Games ratings: Have we all calmed down now?"
[ http://www.mcvuk.com/opinion/139/Games-ratings-Have-we-all-calmed-down-now ]

Christopher Dring
Editorial Assistant, MCV
February 11, 2008

===
I certainly hope so, because after reading The Guardians article I had no intention of banging my GTA drum and stamping my Manhunt-branded feet.

In fact, leading headline and hyperbole aside, I couldnt have been more pleased with the words of The Guardians political editor.

According to the paper, the government proposes to adopt a wide-spread classification system for all video games, ultimately putting the medium in line with film.

Also, retailers will be legally required to prevent the sale of games to a child below the recommended age. And finally, the government will make a series of suggestions to parents, which includes keeping games consoles out of the bedroom, so parents can keep an eye on what media their children are consuming.

The proposals made no mention of an increase in the banning of video games, just new restrictions on who can play them.

This should be music to the trades ears. At last were being treated seriously, with new measures that will only aid in improving the industrys perception. If the selling of software is properly policed, then maybe the vilification of games by the press will cease. And maybe well see an end to episodes such as the sleep-inducing Manhunt debacle.

Ultimately, if the aftermath of the Byron report is as the Guardian (and indeed MCV) suggests, then I will have no issue in voicing my support for it. A simple, yet effective form of classification, combined with some basic education, is precisely what an army of confused parents need.

How refreshing will it be not to feel threatened by the nanny state, and get back to doing what we do best; creating, selling and playing some spectacular forms of interactive entertainment. Free from sensational and irresponsible headlines and clueless politicians.

In the words of The Guardian:

Ministers hope the Byron review will act as a way of calming the debate about video games which has become increasingly polarised and based on prejudice.

Here here.
===

30 July 2012:
[ http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/pegi-games-ratings-come-into-effect-today/0100368 ]
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8y, 11m agoPosted 8 years, 11 months ago
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#1
im unsure how it'll be bad for adults, considering they'll still be able to buy the games if they are over the age limit. If its similar to the cinema standards then surely its a good thing? However i think that there will still be parents still buying the games for the kids, how can they enforce this? Its about this time when the whole 'its only a game' argument comes up, but would you let your 8 yr old watch Texas Chainsaw, or Itchi the Killer? its only a film after all.

Saying that i dont think kids playing games makes them killers or rapists, but its not going to do them any harm by not mowing down prostitutes in cars and reading a book instead.

I also think that complete censorship of the internet is impossible, It just comes down to parental control again.
#2
Quite a lot to read there!!:)

[COLOR="DarkRed"]How refreshing will it be not to feel threatened by the nanny state, and get back to doing what we do best; creating, selling and playing some spectacular forms of interactive entertainment. Free from sensational and irresponsible headlines and clueless politicians.
Ministers hope the Byron review will act as a way of calming the debate about video games which has become increasingly polarised and based on prejudice[/COLOR]
These seem reasonable attitudes. It seems very sensible to have classifications to inform everyone about content.
Can't see anything that is bad for parents - except of course the "Advice" (which boils down to - keep an eye on what your kids are doing), with the sub-text of 'Do this or you're a bad parent and you child will grow up a dysfunctional anti-social criminal'. Is that what you were getting at?
#3
yes the ecommerce does make it harder to 'police' the age restrictions online. Proving your age is somewhat hard to a computer server, ID cards would be the obvious solution here, but by no means the best, and by controlling your online purchases to this degree would again further the distopian nanny state progression.

'At present only games showing sex or "gross" violence to humans or animals require age limits. That leaves up to 90% of games on the market , many of which portray weapons, martial arts and extreme combat, free from statutory labelling.'

this struck me as interesting from the guardian, and could lead to somewhat ambiguious classification, Rachet and Clank for instance involves guns and animal cruelty (the fish), so would this be classed as unsuitible for kids? And as you mention, what level of realism would they take into account, is shooting a dinosaur with an bow and arrow equal to murder with a baseball bat?

Certainly the human nature idea of 'what you can't have, you want more' will come into effect, and there will always be ways around it. PSN accounts and Live accounts would have to be reformated as well i presume, with easy access to demos online which may contain something 'dangerous'....it could all get a bit ridiulous.
#4
Jonster
yes the ecommerce does make it harder to 'police' the age restrictions online. Proving your age is somewhat hard to a computer server, ID cards would be the obvious solution here, but by no means the best, and by controlling your online purchases to this degree would again further the distopian nanny state progression.


Now if you follow this through you can see one day that games will only be available from registered gun... oh sorry game shops. OT but I tried to order an air rifle online for ratting and apparently its illegal for them to send to a private address now, even though the payment would have been through a credit card to the card holders address. Is this the way mail order games will go if the idiots in power get their way?
#5
well, those penny slot machines are pretty addictive...
#6
I'd say it was bad for children and bad for adults.

Bad for children as they will no longer be able to play some great games which have never been proved to cause any harm.

And bad for adults because the marketing bods in America will do exactly the same as they do for the movies, make a lot of their games tamer so that they can fit into the lower classifications.
#7
If anything, being a day older would probley make it easier to go out and cause trouble, with knives.

Apparently, you can buy a crossbow at 17, unless its in a fictional enviroment, then its 18.
1 Like #8
Wow strong first post tl;dr and strong bump
#9
Post #10 - "Jonster - Feb 12, 2008 09:12"
Post #11 - "fanpages - Feb 12, 2011 02:07"

There's something nice about that.

Quote of the day:

"the increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games." - Dr. Carol Lieberman

Josh
banned#10
its more a case of IMO .. and I don`t have kids, should kids be allowed to spend most of their waking hours playing video games ?

Having seen some children playing far too long and becoming aggressive when told to take a break, or the tantrums when put on stoppage.

Having just advised a mate who`s kids are younger, in regard of the pro`s and cons of suitable games and plus the possible impact of too much time playing games, they now having bought the console and monitor what game they play vs school work, chores they have an even balance and no issues.

IMO, and here goes the bun fight , the reasons for the tantrums and the like is down to poor parenting and a reliance of letting the kids use their console as a means of entertaining them so parents can do other things ... instead of the family group doing other activities

As for censorship .. horses for courses .

Edited By: dog_cop on Feb 12, 2011 13:53
#11
dog_cop
its more a case of IMO .. and I don`t have kids, should kids be allowed to spend most of their waking hours playing video games ?

Having seen some children playing far too long and becoming aggressive when told to take a break, or the tantrums when put on stoppage.

Having just advised a mate who`s kids are younger, in regard of the pro`s and cons of suitable games and plus the possible impact of too much time playing games, they now having bought the console and monitor what game they play vs school work, chores they have an even balance and no issues.

IMO, and here goes the bun fight , the reasons for the tantrums and the like is down to poor parenting and a reliance of letting the kids use their console as a means of entertaining them so parents can do other things ... instead of the family group doing other activities

As for censorship .. horses for courses .


I agree with that dc, from my own observations, rather than being a parent myself. It must be easy to be a parent and just want a "break from my parenting responsibilities" for a while, which can quickly become a bad habit.

Gaming, while it is fun, should never be a complete replacement for 'real' family interactions, even if you do spend time with your family playing video games.

Josh
banned#12
r3tract
dog_cop
its more a case of IMO .. and I don`t have kids, should kids be allowed to spend most of their waking hours playing video games ?

Having seen some children playing far too long and becoming aggressive when told to take a break, or the tantrums when put on stoppage.

Having just advised a mate who`s kids are younger, in regard of the pro`s and cons of suitable games and plus the possible impact of too much time playing games, they now having bought the console and monitor what game they play vs school work, chores they have an even balance and no issues.

IMO, and here goes the bun fight , the reasons for the tantrums and the like is down to poor parenting and a reliance of letting the kids use their console as a means of entertaining them so parents can do other things ... instead of the family group doing other activities

As for censorship .. horses for courses .


I agree with that dc, from my own observations, rather than being a parent myself. It must be easy to be a parent and just want a "break from my parenting responsibilities" for a while, which can quickly become a bad habit.

Gaming, while it is fun, should never be a complete replacement for 'real' family interactions, even if you do spend time with your family playing video games.

Josh


Josh, I think that some parents its very much the norm.. let the kids do what they like..

Perhaps when people realise that its only a game, and as I find now its a social thing , chat, laugh , bit of banter, some swearing.. and thats all, and there are other things to do and the off switch is always an easy option
#13
I have no issue with age restrictions on games themselves as long as it doesn't lead to censorship or games being 'banned' as that will just lead to piracy.
#14
Ungreat
I have no issue with age restrictions on games themselves as long as it doesn't lead to censorship or games being 'banned' as that will just lead to piracy.


I'm not quite sure what you mean about censorship & banning to an increase in piracy? What about the film industry? Do you think it is rife with piracy because of 18-rated films or because there is little copy-protection?

I'm interested to see what you think :)

Josh
#15
TL;DR, but the gist I got from the opening few lines was that some hag in government has decided that a major cultural hobby is happening in a way that she dislikes, and so she wants to impose some sort of rule upon it. It's basically one person against something that half of the country do as a matter of normal daily life. I thinkt hat means that she can impose whatever rules she wants, no-one's going to listen to her anyway.
#16
r3tract
Ungreat
I have no issue with age restrictions on games themselves as long as it doesn't lead to censorship or games being 'banned' as that will just lead to piracy.


I'm not quite sure what you mean about censorship & banning to an increase in piracy? What about the film industry? Do you think it is rife with piracy because of 18-rated films or because there is little copy-protection?

I'm interested to see what you think :)

Josh


If they (government watchdog) do an Australia and start banning games then more people will hack consoles that may not ordinarily have done so to get hold of non UK copies.
banned#17
Didn't know so many adults were so passionate about playing computer games
#18
I'm not sure I would agree with that, but I guess it would depend on the volume of games banned. If it was just one or two a year, I think that it would have little to no effect on the amount of piracy.

As it is, I doubt that the government will handing out bans to video games... if Labour were in power that might be a different story... oops, did I just mention politics.

:p

Josh
#19
bykergrove
Didn't know so many adults were so passionate about playing computer games


Have a look through this article from the BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/entertainment_gaming_in_the_uk/html/1.stm

The average gamer is 28 according to their report, although that figure is probably skewed by the fact their definition of "gamer" is:

A gamer is defined as someone who has played video games in the last six months on any machine, including interactive TV (iTV).

I'm also not sure of the age of this report.

Josh
#20
r3tract
I'm not sure I would agree with that, but I guess it would depend on the volume of games banned. If it was just one or two a year, I think that it would have little to no effect on the amount of piracy.

As it is, I doubt that the government will handing out bans to video games... if Labour were in power that might be a different story... oops, did I just mention politics.

:p

Josh


Problem is politicians are generally morons who will gladly jump on whatever crusade the Daily Mail mob decide to go on so will probably start banning games left right and centre. I remember a few years ago when there were calls to ban the game 'Manhunt' as newspapers claimed some teenager who killed another kid with a hammer had been 'obsessed' with the game, it later turned out it was the victim who owned the game and it had sod all to do with the crime.

If the Government banned something like the new GTA then you will get a large number of people sourcing it elsewhere and maybe not from a legal source. It annoys me when you have government attempting to 'nanny' everyone just because parents can't control their children's viewing habits.
#21
r3tract
I'm not sure I would agree with that, but I guess it would depend on the volume of games banned. If it was just one or two a year, I think that it would have little to no effect on the amount of piracy.

As it is, I doubt that the government will handing out bans to video games... if Labour were in power that might be a different story... oops, did I just mention politics.

:p

Josh


Not that I noticed :p
1 Like #22
ts;rit.

(too short; read it twice)

Josh
#23
Having seen the news about this yesterday I felt this story was done far too late. After all, it has always been illegal to sell games with the same classification system as movies to people under that age, it is all so illegal to sell that game to an adult, who states that it is for a minor. I refused to sell several parents GTA SA when they said it was for their kids, who were under the age of 10 never mind 18. It is a £10k fine for doing so, that a hell of alot more than selling alcohol to minors, or for the consumption of by minors.

I also think that kids spend far too much time on computers, my boyfriend and I split last week due to me hating the amount of time his son spends on computer games, we are talking 14+ hours a day in the holidays. With a bad attitude when asked to do anything, or to get ready to go out, moaning that he had planned to play games with mates at such and such a time, to which I often told him he'd get over it.

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