As the British government continues its discussion on the private regulation of the video game industry, YouGov releases the results of a poll done for the British Board of Film Classification that demonstrates parents' concerns about video games -- and supports its intention to be the single video game ratings body.
According to the survey, three quarters of British parents report being "concerned about the content of video games", and express a belief that games affect children's behavior. Rather than supporting government intervention, though, 75 percent of the respondents want to see the industry regulate itself.
77 percent of British parents participating in the survey say video game ratings should reflect their concerns, and 82 percent find it most helpful if video games used the same ratings standard as movies. The poll gathered the opinions of 2143 adults, 1329 of them parents, over a week in February 2009.
The BBFC governs film ratings in the UK, and hopes the YouGov survey will support its argument that it should command the ratings standard for video games as well. Currently, it only rates titles deemed to contain mature content on a case-by-case basis, but has been angling to broaden its ratings system to all games.
It has been in something of a conflict with PEGI, pan-Europe's industry trade body, which has proposed a ratings system of its own, arguing that video games can't be rated according to the same standards as non-interactive entertainment.
Last year, child psychologist Tanya Byron conducted a review of the video game industry in Britain, and with the support of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the UK government has developed an action plan based on the Byron Review that calls for more parental guidance and reforms to the ratings system.
The BBFC says the Byron Review points to it as the ideal classification body, while the game industry itself has argued for the widespread adoption of PEGI ratings. PEGI enjoys both the support of UK trade body ELSPA as well as that of the European Parliament.
"This poll clearly shows parents support a regulatory system for games that is independent of the industry and UK-based, reflecting UK sensibilities and sensitivities," says BBFC director David Cooke.
"The BBFC has been classifying games for over 20 years and our decisions reflect the views of the public. Our classification systems and symbols are known and trusted by the public and in a converging media world they want to know what their children are playing as well as watching."