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Call for ‘adult only’ games rating

The police and crime commissioner for Northamptonshire is calling for video games that depict explicit content such as torture and murder to have an “adult only” rating certificate.

 

A report by Adam Simmonds suggests a new rating, AO or adult only, should be introduced on certain games in order to help parents protect their children from unsuitable content.

The study of 13,000 children has revealed that 26 per cent had accessed a video game they knew they were underage for.

One in 10 children aged 11 said they had downloaded Call of Duty, a game known for its graphic depiction of war.

Mr Simmonds said: “Controversy creates cash. However, today’s report shows that children as young as five are being subject to graphic scenes while playing video games that have left them feeling extremely upset.

“Many parents might not be fully aware that these games contain such disturbing scenes.

“It is time for the industry to play a more proactive role in protecting young minds.”

The Pan European Game Information (PEGI) rating system is already in place in the games industry.

It currently has ratings along with the reasons for that rating displayed on packaging.

Mr Simmonds has suggested titles that ask players to participate in extreme acts of violence, such as massacring civilians, should be given an ‘AO’ rating.

He added parental controls should be introduced: “A new adult only rating alongside parental locks on consoles will better support parents in safeguarding their children.

“If companies fail to do this, games involving extreme violence or sexual content should be banned altogether.”

The report also makes reference to the game in the Grand Theft Auto series, Grand Theft Auto V.

In it players torture an unarmed man by pulling out teeth and administering electric shocks.

The UK video games industry is estimated to be worth more than £1bn to the country’s economy.

Last week in his Budget, Chancellor George Osborne pledged an additional £8m to the industry in order to fund further training and development.

He revived the £4m Prototype Fund, designed to provide a boost for start-ups in the sector and pledged a further £4m will also be made available over the next two years to support the Skills Investment Fund, a match-funding scheme for training in games and other creative sectors.

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