back to article UK gov publishes 'kids and videogames' action plan

The Byron Review, it seems, was just the beginning. The UK government has unveiled a comprehensive action plan designed to develop ways of making videogames and the internet safer for children. The action plan has six key objectives: four concerning child safety online and two regarding the impact of videogames on young gamers …


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  1. Liam


    gotta love the yanks...

    sat there polishing their guns and wondering if its video games that cause violence in society.

    i think that a rating system would be good for games. we dont want little kiddies playing manhunt do we? the problem is that in the UK almost all games that should be rated ARE rated. so... wtf is this £9m going to do? write 1 bit of legislation to force shops to adhere to the law? (£9m???)

    the fact is that most kids are more tech savvy than there parents (i have been since i was about 7 and worked out the video recorder - its been downhill since then!) and that a lot of parents are just bad parents.

    i had loads of dodgy things when i was a 'yoof' that my parents didnt know about. so expecting parents to keep such a close eye on the kids is impossible. also teenagers need their privacy... not having parents 'spin' their bedrooms for contraband (would be like shawshank redemption!)

    imho this is just a waste of £9m. since schools teach so little nowadays (grammar, spelling, maths, english etc) why not do all this at school? why do the usual and waste £9m on crap adverts and useless brochures?

  2. Paul Talbot

    Again, parenting is the key

    Sadly, the only thing that's likely to work in this area is for parents to stop palming off their responsibilities to 3rd parties and take an active interest in their childrens' hobbies.

    The parents I know who either play videogames themselves, watch what their kids do or have read unbiased information about them don't have a problem. It's the idiots who assume they're for children, ignore them and don't do any research beyond the Daily Mail or The Sun who have the problems...

    As with horror comics, heavy metal, "video nasties", et al, this will be a complete non-issue in 10 years and the media will find another scapegoat for society's ills. Meanwhile, lazy parents will continue to churn out badly raised kids.

  3. Steve

    Parental Controls

    All consoles are equipped with parental controls already. It's usually some kind of handheld device with two control sticks and a selection of coloured/numbered buttons.

    It tends to be a standard sized unit for both children and adults.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Lets see the pattern here

    Knives are dangerous and illegal..............kid buys knife

    drugs are bad for you................kid buys drugs

    alcohol isnt good for you...................kid buys booze

    No matter how many places are prosecuted, there's always an older kid or enterprising adult that will supply, just like the older brothers buying the 10-17 year olds booze where i can get a porn DVD or X rated game easier from another kid than from woolworths

    banning it makes it appeal to more kids

    prosecute the parents, not the suppliers....they'll soon stop Johnny carrying his Uzi to protect his brother's drug dealings

    still, if the parent dare try and stop him, they'll be prosecuted for infringing his european right to sell drugs

    cany win either way in UK

  5. regadpellagru
    Thumb Down


    "On its approach to internet safety, the government plans to create a UK Council for Child Internet Safety to monitor the ‘kids online’ issue and report back to MPs."

    Ah, we could have this one here in France. Let me picture it: average age of the council 65 years old, none of them knowing what a social network site might be, last time they saw a nude picture was when Tatcher was still PM. Brilliant.

    The outcome will surely be a raise of the classification to 18 years old, for each game with a car crash scene.

    As the other posters have said, parental attention is the solution.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    legislation alone doesn't work, but this gov loves it

    Problem... than lets legislate, but what about the existing ratings on games and the existing legislation.

    Sorry parents, but it is your fault on this .. games consoles and their games should be a part of your kids life you know about.

  7. Michael

    Yeah, that'll work

    - Family gets console.

    - Parent gets game rated as "adult".

    - Parent plays game, decides it's nothing brain warping, lets child play.

    - Parent gets pissed off with putting in pass-code every time child wants to play game, teaches code to child.

    - Child plays whatever the hell they can get their hands on.

    To be honest, if mummy and daddy really didn't want little Jimmy watching and playing things they didn't know about, they wouldn't have given little Jimmy a television and games console in his bedroom when he was about 7.

  8. amanfromMars Silver badge

    XSS Call for Papers.

    Is there not Interactive Parenting Games XPloring the Finer Arts and Displaying Model Role Scenarios? .... which could be Paralleling/Copying Real Lives. That could be Spun into all Bands of Media with many Tangents to Follow/Tales to Build Upon.

    It's always the parents who allow and therefore cause all the danger to their kids?

  9. Steve Kay

    Two sides

    On the games side, anything which gets rid of the pre-pubescent high-pitched kiddies off Xbox Live's GTA-IV games is great with me. FFS how hard can it be to ensure enforcement of BBFC ratings? No games need to be banned, just a single consistent ratings system, effectively managed and supported.

    On the internet side, unfortunately these idiot parents still aren't getting the message. The internet is not controlled or subject to committees, anyone can say anything. Learn this, adapt to it, practice saying "no".

    Is it not something of a double standard, though? There's parents demanding things be changed to be safer for their children, yet they're still buying violent games for them - this seems to be hypocrisy of a grotesque nature.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Until the parents actually give a damn about the kids up-bringing then we don't stand a chance. And, blaming the state of EU for this is bollocks too. If you bring 'em up properly from the start, they ain't going to sue you (esp. not get away with it).

    I don't really see the point of 18 rated as if you don't know the difference between right and wrong by 16 you should be sent to a very special school, with your parents locked up (obviously excusing genuine learning difficulties - who should be playing games tailored to them).

    Letting your kid play GTA when he's <10yrs old is just plain stupid. Especially when he is no longer interested in playing or watching anything that isn't violent (and yes I have heard a kid say this, it's sick) the parent in mention believes it's great and that the kid has healthy views. My observation concerning this was met with a hostile attitude (underlying message, 'How dare you!').

    As for playing these games whilst making sure your parents don't find out. Perfectly fine (well, not perfectly). You know you are doing wrong. You know you shouldn't be taking these actions. But, if the parents support it?

  11. Mark Norton
    Dead Vulture


    This makes me want to beat someone to death with a baseball bat, then run over the glowing piles of cash that appear over their corpse.

  12. Shaun


    The problem isn't with the age ratings. The current system is fine, it's enforceable by law and game sellers don't sell inappropriate games to children (for the most part). The problem is parents that buy the games for the children then get outraged that the kid's game with the 18 label is unsuitable!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Typical NuLabour - 'we will have a consultation'. The big question is - who do they consult? Experts? (x is the unknown quantity and a spurt is a drip under pressure)or the people that have to clean up after said experts?

    Another question, where is the £9m coming from? The government has said it can't afford to pay its workers (MPs can make up their expences) yet they managed to buy the votes on 42 days (has gordon been hiding money in a Swiss bank account while he was treasurer?

    As many other people here have said it is the parents responsibility but how can parents be responsible when the government is trying its hardest to to remove their rights?

    When the next government gets in (assuming its not the stalinist - opps- labour party) they have a couple of years ahead of them repealing all the laws etc. of this present gov. because most of them are knee jerk responses that make it look as if they did something.

  14. Knasher

    Obvious Solution

    I really fail to see why this is an issue when there is such an easy solution. As far as I know, all of the current generation of consoles have some form parental protection. Now I haven't used it but I'd imagine in can (or if not should be able) to read ratings off game disks (and dvd's would be nice too) and simply refuse to play anything over this. Pass codes to allow the playing of more mature titles and maybe a white list for games that parents find unobjectionable .

    Pass a law to say that all games and dvds have to have a rating in the disk before they are certified and sold. Games consoles (and blue ray players) can be updated to support this (assuming they don't already). And shiny pamphlets can be available with the console and in the shops explaining how to turn this stuff on. Kids can buy as many 18's games and movies as they want - won't do them any good.

    Honestly I don't see any point in moaning about the fact that kids can buy computer games for 18 year olds when such a simple, obvious and permanent solution. The industry gets a rep of being socially responsible with the minimum amount of work involved. I know the kids will still get their parents not to enable this stuff and play 18's games, but there is only so much you can do for people. I really don't see why you would even consider any other approach, its not going to be as effective, cheap or obvious.

  15. Simon

    Blaming the parents?

    Yes, its the responsibility of the parents, not the govenrment. 9 million? FFS.

    But there have been a lot of pointless studies that blame the "Parents lack of knowledge about computers" as the problem, bollocks, the parents who are old enough to have young children now are the ones that grew up in the 80s and 90s and are a generation who were brought up on computers.

    I suspect most of it is not because of the parents lack of computer knowledge, but the parents lack of parenting knowledge or the ability of children to keep secrets from their parents.

    Anyway Little Timmy will always hide something from his parents, I know I did (Yeah, we all had a porn collection when we were 15) so unless the government plans to do raids on kids bedrooms things will carry on as normal and the governments will continue to waste money on things they have no real control over.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Let's go waste some more taxes!

    Read the article and my first reaction was "FFS!". I've got to say that - as a parent (x2) - the current voluntary(?) schemes are pretty good. I've just checked my PSP, DS, Xbox360 and PC collection and ALL of them are clearly marked with with the BBFC 15/18 rates or the PEGI markings (3+, 12+, etc) - so why the heck do we need this "action plan"??

    So what we going to get out of this? Probably more quango's, more jobsworths (see the article this week about taking photos) and no improvement. The responsible parents will continue to use some common sense and filter their kids games, and the dumb ones will continue to buy GTA, Silent Hill, etc for their 5-year olds.

    Maybe this would be a good time to get out those old plans for the V-chip and punt that to the clueless wallies - at least then I'd make some money out of it.

  17. Dave Bell

    I'm all for more awareness

    And, if we have a ratings system the parents can understand, perhaps we can tell the politicians to STFU.

    Or maybe not.

    But we definitely need good information for the parents.

    (OK, so it's less than twenty years ago that video chops were ignoring the "18" ratings on some Japanese animation. Which is an existence proof of the futility of a ratings system as a means to prevent outright bans of material.)

  18. Anonymous Coward

    but what's it all for?

    As a kid from about 10 upwards, me & my friends used to watch various parent's porn fromthe 'hidden' place of mate's houses, we used to get older brothers to rent us video nasties, we had been known to occasionally smoke a spliff at lunch, once four of use drank a bottle of sherry at lunchtime. We all had our own porn stashes. By 13 we were puking all over the park when we were supposed to be at yoof club. Did I become a knife carrying butcher of women and children? Bollocks - I have a buddhist attitude to life, I feel sick if I see even an insect in pain, I have a degree in Soft Eng (admittedly gained much later than I should have) and work as a software engineer in the 40% tax bracket. Admittedly I detest authority, esp governments, marketing, rampant capitalism. So despite my early exposure to violent movies, booze and drugs I haven't turned into the world's most wanted. This is because my parents managed to instill in me a sense of right and wrong (even if I did have to confirm it for myself!)

    back in the bad old days 'fore tv, video, the internet & government intervention kids were exposed to a hell of a lot worse than red pixel splatter. yet the number of pyschotic criminals remains roughly the same.

    It is not exposure to images but the context in which they are viewed - as long as you have been taught that what you are witnessing is unnaceptable to society and the consequences of doing it in real life.

    Perhaps if TV and movies (the governesses of 21st C children) concentrated more on the real effects of guns, knives, loss and death or the pleasant side of love, sex (especially sex) etc.. the world might be a better place?

  19. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    "All necessary evidence"...?

    > the government plans to launch a consultation to consider “all necessary evidence around current and future video games classification”

    Which, if it's anything like the "consultation" on the Extreme Porn Legislation, will be totally biased in favour of the Government's plans and the "evidence" will be considered by rabid anti-violence campaigners who will ignore anything that doesn't agree with their views that it's obvious that these games cause people to do nasty things, so should be banned...

  20. Simon
    IT Angle

    Possibly a naive observation

    for the internet at least, wouldn't the simple solution be to force any 18+ content to be hosted on domains with a gTLD of .XXX and make sure ISPs provide a “No .XXX domain access” option in their set up software? At the end of the day shouldn't it be the parents/guardians that are made responsible for the access their children get to such content instead of instituting yet another government office for the frittering of tax-payers' money. £9M - FFS

  21. Rab S

    New rating system i just thought of...

    Have a nice non threating person ask the person leaving the shop who they bought the game for and what age they are....if the age is below the big sign on the case then get a couple of big bruisers take them round the back and kick the shit out of em...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    ID Cards - a solution!!

    Finally, a reason to ID card everyone in Britain:

    instead of requiring parents to monitor their own children's actions, just require consoles, PCs etc to have a card reader that takes your biometrically secured ID card. Then only unlock games that have a lower rating than the DoB on the card.

    Can extend this ID card requirement to also monitor which person in the house surfs which sites on t'internet (fixes Phorm and similars problems advertising to the right person in the household based on their browsing habits), downloads which illegal files (*IAA etc will love this)

    and who writes what critical comments about the current government (hence the icon)

  23. Steve Kay

    @Simon - re: .xxx TLD

    It's a nice idea, but who determines what goes in that domain? Your 18+ content is not a Frenchman's 18+ content. Neither of you will agree with an American conservative's definition. Or a Saudi's.

    The very nature of the network makes it difficult to regulate. That is the beauty of the network and its weakness.

    The CP80 idea was barely workable for much the same reason:

    The world needs to accept that the right to waffle on Spaceface or Mumsnet or whatever about your life is someone else's right to publish things you don't like.

  24. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    One thing I find interesting

    In every article I read about a scheme to impose ratings on games, there is always a rather large consensus that the rating is rubbish and the parents are the ones ultimately responsible for what their offspring does.

    If this really is a majority view, why then does the government continue to push something no one really believes in ?

    Is it because it's easier to do that rather than take care of real issues, such as fighting crime and maintaining the economy ?

  25. Nathanael Bastone


    "Charlie says: You can never be sure who you will meet online"

    Mines the one with the purple butterflies.

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    +How and when to discipline misbehaving kids, and when to give the neighbours kids a good clip-round-the-ear

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  27. Anonymous Coward

    ? "all necessary evidence"

    I have a serious issue here... we are not defining "all evidence", only that which is "necessary"... or, in layman's terms, that which "fits the model we are pushing".

    Ah, gotta love it when agenda driven manipulative liars claim to be performing science.

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