PEGI has today (July 30th 2012) become the single video games age ratings system, under which it is illegal for a retailer to sell a video game with a PEGI age rating of 12, 16 or 18 to someone below that age. Up until today, the UK had two age ratings systems for video games, BBFC and PEGI, but from now on, PEGI (which stands for Pan-European Game Information) will become the single age rating system for all video games in the UK. The change is aimed at helping consumers, and especially parents, to make informed decisions about which video games to choose for their families, by clearly giving the suggested minimum age that you must be to play a game due to the suitability of its content.
The announcement comes as Ukie (The Association of UK Interactive Entertainment) reveals results of a poll of over 1,000 parents of children under 18, highlighting that:
- Nearly all parents (92%) recognise the benefits that playing video games can have on their children, including educational benefits (58%), that they allow children to be creative (53%) and that they provide entertainment (77%).
- Other benefits cited include increased co-ordination, strategic thinking and team-work.
- Parents would benefit from guidance on which video games are suitable for their families. Over 1 in 3 parents (34%) admit to having given in and bought a video game that was unsuitable for their child, with 86% saying that the new PEGI system is required and almost a third already believing the PEGI ratings will help them choose which games are suitable for their children.
- The survey also found that over a quarter of parents (26%) never play video games with their children, with mums and dads both equally unlikely to join in with the potential for family fun.
Professor Tanya Byron, consultant clinical psychologist, independent government advisor on children, young people and digital media, as well as mother of two, said of the findings: “It’s great to see that parents recognise that playing video games can form a positive part of their children’s activities. Video games can be a great educational resource that can also fuel children’s creativity. It would be great to see parents taking an interest in their children’s video game playing. This can involve taking direct control of what games their children play at home, how they play them and for how long through taking note of the PEGI ratings, as well as using parental controls which are in-built on all modern video games consoles. What’s more, it would be great to see more parents joining in the fun of playing video games together as a family.”