Government to clamp down on people selling inappropriate video games to children
The Government is introducing stronger measures, including jail sentences and fines, to prevent children being sold 'inappropriate' content
New proposals laid before Parliament will mean that anyone selling a video game rated 12 years or above to a child younger than this faces up to two years in jail in some cases.
The Government is also considering widening the remit of the law to include media such as pop videos and DVDs.
The proposals for the tougher age-rating system for video games, which has been laid before Parliament, were first set out under the Digital Economy Act (DEA).
Currently games, which are not religious, sports or educational, are regulated under the Europe-wide Pan European Games Information (PEGI) system; with others that have sexual or violent content rated by the British Board of Film Classification.
The proposals end the dual system and hand over age rating for all games in the UK to the Video Standards Council (VSC), which will continue to use the PEGI system.
Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey said it was the first time that the 12-age rating will be legally enforceable: "The new system will benefit both parents and industry by creating a stronger, simpler age-rating system.
"It will give parents greater confidence that their children can only get suitable games while we are creating a simpler system for industry having their games age-rated."
Some games will continue to be exempt from age-rating classification, such as sports or educational games. However, the VSC will have the power to refuse to grant an age-rating for a video game if it includes extreme content, meaning it would not be allowed to be sold in the UK.
The maximum punishment for selling a video game to someone who does not meet the age classification is up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000.
Supplying a game that has not been granted an age rating by the VSC will be punishable by up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.
Meanwhile, on the back of the findings from Reg Bailey's Let Children be Children report into the sexualistion of children, the Department for Education is consulting on extending the remit of age ratings.
Most music DVDs and Blu-ray discs are currently exempt from the Video Recordings Acts 1984 and 2010, but the DfE is seeing if they should also be included in order to protect children from inappropriate material.
Jo Twist, chief executive of games and interactive entertainment trade body Ukie, said: "We are pleased to hear that the PEGI regulations are another step closer to becoming the UK's sole age-rating system for video games, giving much-needed clarity for consumers.
"We are also in the planning stages of a major awareness campaign to help the public understand the system and other aspects of responsible gaming as soon as PEGI become law in the UK."
Updating your subscription status