The UK Government has launched its official ‘call for evidence’ over the risks to young people from violent video games – and is asking you to help the inquiry.
As reported by MCV last month, the research – which also looks at the availbility of ‘violent or pornographic’ material on the internet – is being headed up by Dr. Tanya Byron, who is best known for her work on TV’s House Of Tiny Tearaways.
And the Government has asked members of the industry, concerned parents and other interested parties to answer questions compiled by Byron, which include:
• What are the benefits and opportunities that new technologies offer for children, young people, their families, society and the economy?
• What are the potential or actual risks to children’s safety and wellbeing of going online and playing video games and how do children, young people and parents feel about those risks?
• To what extent do children, young people and parents understand and manage those risks and how well are they supported to do so?
• What, if anything, could be changed in order to help children, young people and parents manage the potential or actual risks of going online or playing video games, and what are the pros and cons of different approaches?
The deadline for contributions is 5pm on Friday 30 November, after which the research and Byron’s findings will be presented to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
The final report will be published at the end of March next year.
Byron said: Anybody who has children will know that video games and the internet are a part of childhood like never before. This is tremendously positive. New technology is giving kids opportunities to learn, have fun, be creative and communicate in ways that previous generations could only dream of. But many parents still feel ill-equipped to help their children navigate this technology safely.
By issuing my call for evidence today, I want to start a debate about how Government, industry and society as a whole can support parents to guide our children into the virtual world, with the same confidence as when we show them how to stay safe in our local community.”
Secretary of State for Children for Schools and Families Ed Balls added:
We all value the great educational, social and entertainment benefits that the internet and video games technologies offer.
"However I know parents want to have information on how their children can take advantage of the positive benefits of these technologies, whilst being able to protect them against the risks.
It is vital that those who are most informed in these areas come forward and engage with Dr Byron to see what more can be done to help families enjoy video games and the internet safely. I encourage everyone with an interest in this important debate to have their say.”
The project was first set in motion by Gordon Brown on September 5th, when he promised that he would not censor games – regardless of the result of the inquiry.