Dr. Nick Robinson believes penalizing retailers for PEGI violations is just not enough.
A political researcher has criticised the UK government’s adoption of the PEGI rating system. He says that the system will fail unless the government takes action on poor parenting practices, which includes prosecuting parents who purchase violent games for children.
Dr. Nick Robinson, a researcher from the School of Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds, criticises the new ratings legislation of being a “smokescreen” to cover up the government’s lack of accountability in limiting children’s exposure to violent media. He says that the “politically expedient” PEGI system will not address the real problem of preventing young gamers from playing mature titles.
Currently, the PEGI system penalizes retailers for selling games to children who do not meet the ratings guidelines, but Robinson wants the government to take further action. “The issue of video games may seem rather trivial at first, but it has many implications for politicians,” he says. “To really begin to sort this issue, the state would have to be prepared to prosecute parents who purchase and allow their children to play inappropriate games.”
Robinson bases his comments on research into programmes in the US designed to educate parents and children on the ratings system. “Despite a concerted effort to educate parents and children…which has led to high levels of understanding, a significant minority of parents still purchase inappropriate material for their children,” he explained. “Why should the system in the UK be any different?”
He also points the finger at game developers for shying away from the responsibility of keeping kids from playing their products. He states that game makers are “absolved from the burden of responsibility” and instead defer to the state and regulator. He concludes that, as a result, more violent games are released into the market since companies are protected by the ratings framework.