Video games and interactive entertainment trade body, UKIE, outlines industry support for promoting online safety

Tuesday 12 October 2010– Speaking at today’s Westminster e-forum Keynote Seminar, UKIE Director General, Michael Rawlinson outlined the video games and interactive entertainment industry’s commitment to educating people about how to communicate safely when playing games online.

Today’s Westminster e-forum Keynote Seminar was titled‘Taming the wild web 2010 - building a safer cyberspace’ and the main topic being discussed was‘Raising public awareness and engaging young people on the dangers of the web’.

Rawlinson started his speech by saying how seriously the video games and interactive entertainment industry takes the wellbeing of consumers and, in particular, young people. He said that UKIE (formerly ELSPA) have demonstrated this by successfully calling for the PEGI age rating system to be introduced into the Digital Economy Act.

He also said that, as David Cameron calls for a‘Big Society’, the video games and interactive entertainment industry already operated under the principle of self-imposed responsibility towards consumers. He urged other creative industries to do the same - taking responsibility for protecting and educating consumers, without waiting to be told to do so by government.

Rawlinson went on to say that other creative industries should take advantage of the creativity that is all around them to deliver key safety messages to an evolving and expanding audience and using all the channels at their disposal to get the messages across.

One such audience was those young people playing video games. As more and more people play video games online, it is vital that they are aware that safety guidelines still apply when they’re playing a game and that their behaviour online can affect their offline world.

To get this message across Rawlinson said that we must look at how we can communicate via online games networks, that are now used by tens of millions of people, and where possible we must use games themselves to make young people aware of and engage with online safety guidelines.

Speaking at the event UKIE Director General, Michael Rawlinson said,“The video games industry is committed to taking responsibility for educating and protecting consumers. By being creative in how we get our messages to young people we have a much better chance of being listened to. There is much that we can do individually and collectively and we look forward to working with government, UKCCIS, third sector organisations and other relevant partners to come up with more creative ways of getting our vital safety messages to the young people who need to hear them.”

Please contact the UKIE press office if you would like any further information.

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About UKIE

The Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment or UKIE is a trade body that represents the whole of the UK’s video games and wider interactive entertainment industry. Founded in 1989 (and formerly known as ELSPA), UKIE’s membership includes games publishers, developers and the academic institutions that support the industry.

UKIE works with government to champion a range of issues including age ratings, education and skills, tax incentives and protecting intellectual property rights. It also works with the media to ensure true and accurate representation of the sector by raising awareness of the industry’s positive economic contribution and the societal benefits of gaming to policy makers, regulators and consumers.

One of UKIE’s key roles is to support its members by providing them with key market information, promoting careers and offering the business support services, training and best-practice knowledge to enable them to operate most effectively.

In addition, UKIE works with GfK Chart-Track to compile weekly, monthly and annual retail charts and sales reports for the UK market.

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