New PEGI Colour System. Because Parents Are Idiots
As the UK Government chooses the PEGI system as the universal rating scheme for games (as oppose to choosing the BBFC), the group behind PEGI has introduced a new colour labelling system. The current system shows the age ratings of the games, (3, 7, 12, 16, 18) in black and white. The new system now contains a ‘traffic light’ system, where green means the game is safe for children, while red being labelled for adult games. The PEGI system has been in widespread use for several years, however this ruling, (part of the Governments ‘Digital Britain’ report) makes the ratings scheme legally enforceable.
Mike Rawlinson, Europe’s Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association’s general director stated:
The Government has made absolutely the right decision for child safety. By choosing PEGI as the single classification system in the U.K., British children will now get the best possible protection when playing video games either on a console or on the Internet.
However, I feel that the real problem is not which rating system is being used, it is that parents buy games for children who are not of age. The ratings system is already there, yet people choose to ignore it. Adding colours is not going to ensure little Timmy doesn’t play GTA IV, nor will it stop retailers selling games to under-age children. There has been much debate on whether it would be more beneficial to use the same BBFC ratings used in films, which is much more recognised carries more of an impact than the PEGI system.
Ratings are important for parents to decide what is and is not appropriate for their child, so does it not make sense to use a system with more recognition? I remember tricking my mum into buying me something, I think it was Driver on the PSOne. It had the PEGI symbol on it, and I claimed that it was merely a difficulty rating. If she had seen a stern ’15′ with a red background, she would of caught on immediately. However, the PEGI system does include a set of icons that show specifically what is in the game, including sex, violence or a use of drugs.
Either way, parents either don’t care or don’t understand the risks of children playing videogames. I do worry that adding colours to a system that nobody understands, will not remedy the situation.