June 22, 2005

Parents ignore game age ratings

by brian_turner


A study commissioned by the UK games industry shows that parent ignore warnings on games that say they are unsuitable for children.

Presenting the results of the study at the Elspa (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) summit in London, Jurgen Freund from Swiss research company Modulum, said “Most parents think their child is mature enough so that these games will not influence them”.

The report reflects concerns about children playing violent video games, an issue highlighted in 2004 when the parents of a 14-year-old said that the game Manhunt contributed to his death. Police investigating the murder dismissed the influence of the game and it was not part of the police’s legal case.

All games receive an age classification via a two-tier system involving the British Board of Film Classification and Pegi, a voluntary organisation.

Modulum’s research showed that although most people knew that games had age ratings, parents were still allowing children to play 18-rated games, perceiving the ratings as a guide rather than a definite prohibition.

According to the research, parents were more concerned about children spending too many hours playing games, rather than about what type of title they were playing.

Mr Freund suggested that parents felt disconnected from the world of video games and so showed little interest in this aspect of their children’s lives.

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