Law Will Protect Young from Video Game Violence
Byline: Liz Thomas
SELLING video games rated for the over-12s to younger children could soon be punishable by up to six months in prison and a [pounds sterling]5,000 fine.
Under proposed changes to the law, the Government is making the 12 rating enforceable on video games.
Ministers are also proposing a single classification system overseen by the Video Standards Council.
The VSC will assess each game according to the existing Pan European Game Information scheme, which effectively has five categories, from suitable for all to adults only.
It will have the power to legally enforce ratings on games listed as 18, 15, and for the first time 12.
It will also have powers to ban a product from the UK if it feels the video game is too graphic.
Critics warn the European system may not be appropriate here because of the varying national standards for what constitutes graphic violence or sexual content.
At present in the UK, only games rated 15 and 18 carry legal penalties if they are sold to children below those ages. This is because there is joint responsibility between the British Board of Film Classification and the PEGI scheme.
All games sold in Europe are regulated by the PEGI scheme but any coming to the UK featuring more graphic sexual and violent content also have to be classified by the BBFC Because this type of material is traditionally rated 15 or 18 they are the only categories where selling to younger consumers can result in a prison term or a fine. …