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Games age ratings body: 'We want to educate, not regulate parents'

UKIE chief executive Jo Twist explains why informing parents is just as important as new policy

The BBFC games ratings system is no more - the new PEGI alternative has become legally enforceable in the UK, meaning that games published across Britain must be designated a 3, 7, 12, 16 or 18 age stamp.

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UKIE chief executive Jo Twist

Salespersons working at games retail outlets across Britain could be prosecuted if they sell games to underage customers at the age of 12 or below, according to a new set of guidelines.

At the centre of the campaign is Britain's games trade body UKIE, following its successful work on games tax breaks and games education reform.

CVG spoke to UKIE chief executive Jo Twist to examine the purpose and practicalities of the PEGI law.

CVG: Under the new PEGI guidelines, retailers that sell adult-rated games to customers under the age of twelve can be prosecuted. Do you feel this is right?
TWIST: I think this brings games in line with film and other such sophisticated forms of media. So I think it is right that we have this 12, 16 and 18 rating system and that it is enforceable.

But this is a collective responsibility between the industry, parents and retailers to ensure that children are enjoying the right games that are appropriate for their age.

Why has the law been pinned to selling games to anyone under the age of twelve?
Twelve is the age in a person reaches a point in their development and are entering into teenagehood. Again, if you look at the film industry the ratings are 12 and 12A.

If an 18 rated game is sold to a seventeen year-old, that is still a criminal offence.
Yes and it was before PEGI became the single ratings system came into effect.

So is it still an offence to sell a seventeen year-old an 18 rated game?
The BBFC ratings were legally enforceable, and yes the PEGI ratings are too so it is illegal to sell a game to anyone underage.

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UKIE: The trade organisation that represents the UK games industry

Do you want tougher regulations on parents providing adult-rated games to children under age?
It's very difficult to regulate parents. We're fans of self-regulation which means that parents need to engage more with their children about games and especially when buying games for them. We have relaunched the AskAboutGames website, which aims to give people lots of information about how parents can get more engaged. Playing games with your kids is the best way to engage with them.

About a quarter of parents say they haven't played games with their children, which they should. As you know it's one of the most fulfilling forms of entertainment.

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