The newly introduced and legally enforced PEGI ratings system for video games in the UK is only part of the solution in preventing minors from playing age inappropriate games, says UK games industry trade association TIGA.
Parents must take responsibility for the video game content their children are being exposed to.
"It is important that people are made aware of the PEGI system and understand what the ratings and advisory comments mean," said Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA. "Parents and consumers generally need to know when they purchase a boxed video game from a shop what the PEGI ratings mean so that they can make informed decisions. However, while PEGI provides more information for consumers, the purchaser must ultimately take responsibility for ensuring that the game which he/she has bought is age-appropriate.
"Only bricks and mortar stores are affected by the new law which puts PEGI on a statutory basis. Online and digital downloads remaining exempt. As both of these methods typically require a credit or debit card, parents can ensure that their children play age appropriate games."
TIGA has also provided some advice to parents when it comes to buying games for their children.
- Always look for the age classification on the game package.
- Try to look for a summary or review of the game content or ideally play the game yourself first.
- Play video games with your children, watch over them when they play and talk with them about the games they play. Explain why certain games are not suitable.
- Be aware that online games sometimes enable the download of extra software that can alter the game content and eventually the age classification of the game.
- Online games are usually played in virtual communities requiring players to interact with unknown fellow players.
- Tell your children not to give out personal details and report inappropriate behaviour.
- Set the limits by using the parental control tools of the game console or PC