Posted: April 1, 2014 Filed under: Contemporary Media Regulation
Who is PEGI?
The Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) age rating system was established to help European parents make informed decisions on buying computer games. It was launched in spring 2003 and replaced a number of national age rating systems for example ‘The BBFC’ in the UK with a single system
What are ratings?
Age ratings are systems used to ensure that entertainment content, such as films, videos, DVDs, and computer games, are clearly labelled by age according to the content they contain. Age ratings provide guidance to consumers (particularly parents) to help them decide whether or not to buy a particular product.
Descriptors shown on the back of the packaging indicate the main reasons why a game has received a particular age rating. There are eight such descriptors: violence, bad language, fear, drugs, sexual, discrimination, gambling and online gameplay with other people.
How does the rating process function?
Prior to release of each version of a game, publishers complete an on-line content assessment and declaration form. The first part of the form deals with legal provisions in certain European countries.
- The publisher then completes the second part of the form relating to the content assessment of the game and taking into account the possible presence of violence, sex and other sensitive visual or audio content.
- According to the declared content, PEGI allocates a provisional age rating along with content descriptors to indicate why the game has been allocated that age category.
- The PEGI administrator (NICAM or VSC depending on the provisional age rating given) are sent an examination pack which contains all of the information and material required to double-check the provisional rating against the PEGI criteria.
- The publisher is then issued with a licence authorising the use of the age rating label together with the related content descriptor(s) for the game.
Do games have an influence on children?
The research on the impact of videogames has been focused primarily on violence. Numerous studies have been published, but until today there is no evidence that playing violent video games causes any long-term or lasting increase in aggressiveness or violence among players. Sources: – Jonathan L. Freedman , Evaluating the Research on Violent Video Games – Guy Cumberbatch, Video Violence Villain or victim? – Raymond Boyle and Matthew Hibberd, Review of Research on the Impact of Violent Computer Games on Young People.