Games website to educate parents


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May 24, 2005
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Games website to educate parents

A new website aims to help parents decide which video games are suitable for their children. is being launched by the UK games industry trade body, the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (Elspa).

It is a response to controversy over the type of content children may be exposed to in games.

A recent survey found that parents often let children play games, even though they knew they were 18-rated.

Government backing

Elspa hopes the website will dispel some of the negative perceptions about gaming.

I'd like to remind parents to look carefully at the games they are putting in their children's stockings this Christmas
James Purnell, Minister for the Creative Industries

"We believe that through the askaboutgames website parents will see that the games industry is as well regulated as all other entertainment mediums," said Elspa director general Roger Bennett.

"Armed with the facts on game ratings, parents will be able to buy games for their children for Christmas and throughout the year with the assurance that they are not being exposed to content unsuitable for their age," he added.

Minister for the Creative Industries James Purnell welcomed the efforts by the games industry to help parents understand age ratings.

"Too often parents unwittingly allow their children to play unsuitable games," he said.

"I'd like to remind parents to look carefully at the games they are putting in their children's stockings this Christmas."

'Too divorced'

Questions have been raised about children playing 18-rated games since the parents of a 14-year-old blamed the game Manhunt for his death.

Its influence was dismissed by the police and played no part in the legal case. But it did re-open the debate about children playing unsuitable or violent games.

Despite the fact that games, like movies, all come with an age classification, a survey by research firm Modulum suggested parents were letting their children decide what they played.

The research found that parents were "too divorced" from the world of video games to take a more active role in what their children were playing.

Although the number of games aimed at adults has increased in recent years, 18-rated games only account for a small number of releases each year.

Between January 2003 and July 2004, only 16 of the 1,208 games on sale in the UK had a 18+ certificate.

Video games are hugely popular in the UK. More than 40% of British household, accounting for 11 million homes, own at least one games console, according to Jupiter Research.
Elspa says the average age of gamers is in the mid-twenties and estimates that more than half of all males and one in four of all females play games regularly.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/07 08:55:25 GMT