The UK Government has published its official action plan for video games classification changes following the recommendations made in the Byron Review earlier this year.
When it comes to age classification changes, the ‘action points’ for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport are threefold.
* DCMS will launch a four month public consultation on reforming the video games classification system in July 2008;
*DCMS will publish its proposals for reforming the classification system byll early 2009; and
*DCMS will work with the games regulators to agree a way forward for classifying online gaming. This will be included in the overall classification consultation to enable the results to feed into the UKCCIS sub-group which will be set up in autumn 2008.
The second part of Dr. Tanya Byron’s recommendations, involve a public awareness campaign of adult titles. The Government action points here read:
* DCMS will work with key stakeholders on raising awareness about the importance of video games classification by autumn 2008
* DCMS and BERR will take forward, with industry and regulators, proposals for a comprehensive awareness campaign of the new classification system and parental controls in early 2009
* DCMS and BERR will work with the retail industry to work towards an agreed set of standards for in-store information with the aim of raising awareness of consumers and reduce access of video games to people below recommended ages by November 2008
* DCMS and BERR will embark on a series of games industry meetings and agree to develop minimum standards for parental controls, potentially including helping parents manage the time children spend playing games, for all main gaming platforms by November 2008
* Government will work with Trading Standards to scope the need for periodical monitoring by officers of underage games sales by autumn 2008
* Over summer 2008, DCMS will be engaging the advertising regulators and video games industry in discussions about guidance on the advertising of video games. Guidelines will in place by spring 2009
* The Committee on Advertising Practice and the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice will undertake a full review of all advertising codes, incorporating a review of the advertising of video games in 2008, which will be subject to consultation, with revised codes in place by spring
* The Advertising Standards Authority will begin an assessment of the compliance of video games advertisers within the current regulations by autumn 2008
* The Government will consider if further research is required in the light of this assessment and the conclusion of the ‘assessment into the impact of the commercial world on children’s wellbeing’, in spring 2009.