Byron Review Official Details: PEGI and BBFC Must Collaborate

Official launch today.

Posted by Staff
The Byron Report's front cover
The Byron Report's front cover
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, states:

"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.

Summer 2010
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.


JJ 27 Mar 2008 11:54
"There is a correlation between playing violent games and aggressive behaviour, but this
is not evidence that one causes the other"

kinda like road rage then.

I believe studies have shown that aggression can be detected very early even before pre-school(could be the breast feeding theory, I know if after 9 months waiting, thinking you're going to get to suck on some titties only to be fronted with powdered SMA in a bottle, I'd be pretty miffed too.....erm back on topic ).

I think overall this report is a decade to late and tells us all what we know already about age rating systems, hopefully it will calm the media down a bit though.
Sparrow 28 Mar 2008 19:15
this story was all over BBC radio 1 yesterday and the reporting was utter balls. their tech editor said that aside from violent and sexual games having to go thru BBFC, "some games use a different rating system". err, like, 99.9% of other games are PEGI rated. the same was true fo the old ELSPA rating. he didn't even mention PEGI or ELSPA or the good efforts the industry has been making for years. then they went and dug up that old non-truth about the Stefan Pakeerah murder being linked to Manhunt. given that radio 1 is supposed to target yoofs, you'd hope they at least try to educate them. isn't that supposed part of the bbc mantra?

anyway, why don't the industry/government just stick with the PEGI system and use that as the legal age restriction? why bother with another body?(though the PEGI logos need sorting - they're crap). sanyway making it illegal to sell games to underage kids will change diddly squat - at 30+ quid a pop most of these kids already get their games bought by parents. as always its really the fault of the parent for ignoring the already well established age rating system.

so this leads to Byron's suggestion of "Campaign to raise awareness of age ratings and parental controls underway."

err, so what's the "" stuff that ELSPA's been pushing for the last few years?

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