Following the release
of the UK's Byron Review of the effects of video games and the Internet on children, the UK government has revealed its Action Plan to implement the study's recommendations, including ratings reforms and more parental guidance.
The study was led by child psychologist Tanya Byron (pictured) and publicly backed by British prime minster Gordon Brown, and, most notably, called for a new legally enforced, cinema style classification system, making it illegal to sell games to children below the recommended age.
The Action Plan, released in full
on the government's Department for Children, Schools and Families website, has outlined forthcoming milestones and specific actions it plans to take, including the following:
• the development of a self regulatory approach by industry which will make the internet safer for children
• plans to raise awareness of e-safety issues among children, young people, parents and other adults through a public information and awareness campaign which will begin in summer 2008 as part of a £9m investment by Government in communications to the public about child safety;
• studying the role of schools and other services for children and families that can help equip and empower children and their parents to stay safe online.
• reforming the classification system for video games, including plans to launch a consultation to consider all necessary evidence around current and future video games classification
• studying how Government will work with industry to improve information and support to parents on video games
Said Culture Minister Margaret Hodge on its specific application to gaming, “The UK video games industry is a real success story and the internet is now part of our lives in a way that we couldn’t have imagined a few years ago. But just because these technologies are fast-moving and exciting doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have appropriate safeguards."
“By taking forward Dr Byron’s recommendations we will help children to safely navigate the internet and allow parents to make informed decisions about what is appropriate for their child,” she concluded.