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cyberdude557

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: March 27, 2008, 09:03:10 PM

Video games will be forced to carry cigarette-style health warnings under proposals to protect children from unsuitable digital material.

The report, commissioned by the Prime Minister in response to a growing moral panic about video games, will conclude that they can harm the development of children’s beliefs and value systems and desensitise them to violence. It will also recommend that retailers who sell video games to anyone under the age rating on the box should face a hefty fine or up to five years in prison, The Times has learnt.

The report, written by Tanya Byron, the clinical psychologist and television parenting guru, is also expected to address the dangers of children’s use of the internet.

“Parents are afraid to let their children out,” she said. “So they keep them at home, but allow them to take risks online.”

She will call for a massive campaign to educate parents, teachers and childcarers about how to ensure that children get maximum benefit from the digital world without being exposed to its dangers.

This will include a drive for greater awareness of inappropriate content such as pornography. Parents will be encouraged to monitor children’s online use and keep computers in living rooms rather than bedrooms. Dr Byron, a Times columnist who has two children aged 9 and 12, said that video and online games could have enormous benefits “in terms of learning and development”, but that there was too little awareness among parents about the associated risks they posed and how to manage those risks.

“You would not send your child to the pool without teaching them to swim, so why would you let them online without teaching them to manage the risks?” she said.

Dr Byron said that the current classification system for video games was confusing and not tough enough. At present only games showing sex or gross violence require an age rating from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and fewer than 2 per cent of titles carry an 18-certificate.

The alternative Pan-European Game Information system is considered to be ineffective because it uses symbols that are confusing and distributors effectively chose their own ratings by filling in a form about their product.

Dr Byron wants a single statutory classification system. Ratings would have to be displayed prominently on all packaging materials, like health warnings on cigarettes, as well as on shop display cases.

“We have to make child digital safety a priority. If you are under 18, you should not be able to buy an ‘18’ game and if you are under 12, you should not be able to buy a ‘12’ game,” she said. She also wants all games consoles to contain blocking mechanisms that would enable parents to prevent children playing unsuitable games on them.



http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article3628894.ece

Ericsbucs371

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#1 : March 27, 2008, 09:12:14 PM

Parents will be encouraged to monitor children’s online use


wait, wait, wait......Parents monitoring their children's activities? OMG...what an innovative idea!


cyberdude557

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#2 : March 27, 2008, 09:36:59 PM

At least this somewhat promotes parental responsibility for a change as well.... throwing a warning label on a video game by itself will not have much effect.

Ericsbucs371

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#3 : March 28, 2008, 11:41:57 AM

At least this somewhat promotes parental responsibility for a change as well.... throwing a warning label on a video game by itself will not have much effect.

 It will also recommend that retailers who sell video games to anyone under the age rating on the box should face a hefty fine or up to five years in prison

I agree with this 100%


spartan

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#4 : March 28, 2008, 05:07:45 PM

Maybe the current warning labels are not as clear and concise as they could be, but if that is all parents use they need to get slapped. How about looking at the game their child is playing and then making a decision on its appropriateness?

mjs020294

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#5 : March 28, 2008, 06:06:16 PM

Its not only the games parents should be worried about, it is excessive gaming.  Thankfully our kid has never been that addicted to them.  He might play a couple of hours a night one week and he doesn't touch it the next week. 

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