SPOnG has just been reading a copy of the Byron Review into violence in video games (and the Internet) which is due for official release today.
The report weighs in at 224 pages (excluding covers) so, right now we're going to tell you about recommendations made in Byron's executive summary as they pertain to the video game community.
The review, entitled Safer Children in a Digital World
"I recommend a hybrid classification system in which:
?? BBFC logos are on the front of all games (i.e. 18,15,12,PG and U).
?? PEGI will continue to rate all 3+ and 7+ games and their equivalent logos (across all age ranges) will be on the back of all boxes."
This recommendation is supported by:
"Sustained, high profile and targeted efforts by industry to increase parents?
understanding and use of age-ratings and controls on consoles."
"That the statutory requirement to age classify games be extended to include those receiving 12+ ratings."
"That the retail industry works together to develop and implement a more consistent approach to the sale of video games and better in-store information for parents, children and young people.
"That there should be focused efforts to monitor enforcement of the statutory age ratings at the point of sale.
"That the advertising and video games industries work together to improve guidance on the appropriate targeting and content of video games adverts in line with age classifications. I also make suggestions for specific measures they should consider.
"That console manufacturers work together to raise standards in parental controls on consoles, delivering clear and easy to use prompts and better information for parents on where console controls meet agreed standards.
"That the BBFC and PEGI work together to develop a joint approach to rating online games and driving up safety standards for children and young people in the games, under the auspices of the UK Council for Child Internet safety."
These recommendations are supported by the following timeline:
"By Autumn 2008
Consultation on changes to classification system underpinned by clear plans
for potential legislative change.
Industry commits to develop minimum standards for parental controls.
Campaign to raise awareness of age ratings and parental controls underway.
Retailers make improvements to in-store information.
UK Council for Child Internet Safety establishes sub-group on online gaming.
Industry and classification bodies commit to develop single set of standards for managing safety in online games.
By Spring 2009
BBFC and PEGI agree and publish standards for managing safety in online games.
Research into role of video game advertising on underage game play completed.
Industry guidelines on advertising of video games produced.
Changes to classification system in place.
Ongoing Monitoring and enforcement of sales of age-rated video games.
Government identifies ways for game based learning to be evaluated in different educational environments."
The report is packed with detail, which we will report on later today. However, one fascinating conclusion is that "There is a correlation between playing violent games and aggressive behaviour, but this is not evidence that one causes the other."
More details and facts on the Byron Review today on SPOnG.