UK trade body ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) urges parents in the region to check PEGI (Pan European Game Information) age ratings and content descriptors on game packaging to make informed choices when purchasing video games for younger children as Christmas gifts.
Major game publishers provide PEGI ratings for their games sold in the UK and mainland Europe to indicate which titles are suitable for which age groups, a measure designed to protect minors from adult or inappropriate content. Content descriptors further specify potentially inappropriate subject matter, from violence to sexual content.
ELSPA's recommendation to parents comes after repeated calls
for the UK government to support PEGI as the single games age rating system for the UK and Europe, abandoning the currently-used BBFC system. ELSPA director general Paul Jackson has previously argued
that the BBFC system "can’t cope with the infinite variety and complexity of modern video games, and the interaction between players."
Most recently, ELSPA introduced a "traffic light" rating system
for PEGI ratings designed to give parents a quick indicator of a game's age appropriateness. In addition to the discernible age ratings, there will also be a color symbol designed to immediately communicate the age appropriateness of a game's content.
"With a little over three weeks until Christmas, parents are under increased pressure from children looking to play their favourite games," says ELSPA managing director Michael Rawlinson.
Rawlinson adds, "But not all games are suitable for younger children so the games industry, which always has child safety at the forefront of its mind, knows that it is of paramount importance that parents carefully check the PEGI ratings and descriptors to ensure the game’s suitability for the intended player."