UK to legally enforce new software ratings system?
By Stevie Smith Feb 11, 2008, 12:59 GMT
Byron Report to propose new legally-enforceable software ratings system for the UK? Credit: Rockstar.
ESRB ratings emblazoned on the packaging of all US software deliver a basic guideline to parents in order to help them better govern what their children are playing, but they exist as just that, guidelines, nothing more.
Moreover, while videogame activists such as Miami-based lawyer Jack Thompson fight to have US retailers held legally responsible for the sale of age-restricted software to minors, it would appear that the UK government is preparing to launch a new and legally enforceable ratings system.
According to a story appearing in The Guardian newspaper, the proposed classification software system will make it illegal for retail outlets to sell videogames with mature-rated content to anyone falling below the individual software’s outlined age rating.
The new classification system will arrive as just one of several proposals expected to emerge from the upcoming Byron Report, which is being compiled by child psychologist Dr. Tanya Byron (of BBC's 'House of Tiny Tearaways' fame).
Dr. Byron’s inquiry has seen the one-time TV psychologist communicating and liaising with parents and members of the entertainment industry in a focus on violent and sexual content in videogames and other media. The aim of the inquiry is to seek ways to better protect UK children from unsuitable materials.
“It is essential that parents and anyone involved in the care and development of young people are familiar with the material they will access and view - and of the potential and actual risks therein,” commented Byron in a recent GamesIndustry report.
Other child-protection announcements likely to stem from the final report include UK authorities moving to better inform parents on how to protect their under-age children from potentially harmful content carried in videogames, e-mails and other Internet-based material.
The Byron Report is expected to be published in March.