New games laws get parental praise
PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 July 2012 | UPDATED: 15:15 30 July 2012
PARENTS of young gaming enthusiasts in Weston have welcomed new changes to the law which are designed to protect youngsters from buying games with violent or harmful content.
The Government has dropped the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) from rating games which appear on consoles such as PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii, replacing it with a games-specific ratings system which is now legally enforceable.
Any retailer caught selling games like Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to those under the age of 18 can be handed a £5,000 fine or see staff given a six-month prison sentence and a criminal record, similar to the sale of knives or alcohol.
According to one Weston father, the onus is still on parents to ensure children avoid unsuitable games.
Adrian Johnson, a father-of-two from The Brambles, Weston, said: “It’s about time it happened. Some of the games are rated a bit too highly for what they are, but some of them need it, you can see lots of blood spurting out.
“I let my 12-year-old police himself but I do go up and check and if he breaks that, he loses his Xbox.”
But he said peer pressure often leads youngsters to try to access games which are age-restricted and says that children need to be given responsibility over what they play.
He added: “There is peer pressure from other kids playing games. I let my son play Modern Warfare but I sit with him while he plays it.
“The only way it is going to be policed is by parents really. I can’t see bobbies on the beat going round knocking on doors asking what games children are playing.”
A spokesman for Weston Gamestation in High Street said: “It changes nothing for us as we have always implemented the system.
“It is helpful for parents because they are able to distinguish what’s in a game.
“We can be informative about that in the store, parents ask what the content is like and we try to inform them.”
The new system is administered by the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) body and classifies releases as a 3, 7, 12, 16 or 18 as well as providing information labels such as ‘violence’, ‘bad language’, ‘sex’, ‘discrimination’ and ‘online’.
The PEGI system was introduced voluntarily in 2009 but on Monday became mandatory and legally enforceable.