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Byron Review backs movie-style ratings

Dr. Tanya Bryon’s Review into young people's access to inappropriate digital entertainment has recommended ‘movie-style’ ratings for video games, according to early newspaper reports – as first predicted by MCV earlier this year.

The national media has thus far spun the findings as a ‘crackdown’ on the sale of violent software to minors, with The Times dubbing the new classification system similar to ‘cigarette-style warnings’.

In truth, Dr. Bryon has concluded that a statutory ‘12’ BBFC rating – as used in cinemas across the UK – should be introduced - alongside the current 15 and 18 BBFC ratings.

The Times also suggests that she has recommended 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 - yet to be confirmed by the Byron camp.

The Times has made a major deal of the Byron Review in today’s edition, printing supplementary articles on the subject – including one reporting that the release of Rockstar’s GTA IV and Manhunt 2 will test the guidance ‘to the limit’.

The newspaper reports that Byron states:

'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.'

Byron adds that she also wants all games consoles to contain blocking mechanisms that would enable parents to prevent children playing unsuitable games.

In addition, she calls for 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’.

The future of PEGI is still unclear, but The Times suggests that Dr. Byron is ready to reduce the body’s powers. It reports:

‘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.’

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