Keeping kids safe online is about education. The recent Nantwich letter
, Northamps' Study
, and even as far back as the Byron Review
, all conclude the same way. Education. Oddly no-one seems able to clarify exactly whose responsibility this is; except the games industries of course - they really should "do more".
But what does that mean, "do more" than what?
- place ratings symbols on boxart?
- positioning display boards in-store explaining the ratings?
- having leaflets and flyers available/given to customers upon purchase?
- requiring age confirmation for credit or debit cards purchases?
- requiring age confirmation to purchase 18 rated games?
- refusing to sell games directly to minors (illegal in some locals)?
- be subject to hefty fines any time the aforementioned are contravened (PEGI T&C)?
- risk the possibility of prosecution (region specific).
If the issue is one of education, that involves two parties, the 'teacher' and the 'student', if the latter is unable or unwilling to learn (for whatever reason) no amount of teaching will alleviate that. Who then is to blame for said individuals abrogating responsibility to remain ignorant of the issue(s). Just how is a parent too busy working/[insert reason
] 'forced' or 'coerced' into understanding how appropriate little Timmy or Tina's games are relative to their (the parents) sensibilities. And more to the point just how exactly is 'the industry' expected to know all this when demands for deeper involvement are made.
To make-real on such, parents need to be prepared to put up with deeper intrusion into their personal and family lives at purchase, perhaps being asked questions such as;
- "Is this purchase for you or someone else".
- "Is this purchase for a person under 18 or a minor".
- "Is the intended user of the relevant or appropriate age...".
- "... If not are you/parent/guardian going to be supervising their play"
- "... If not would you be 'OK' with us passing your details on to the police/Social Services/etc.".
- "Would you be willing to sign this release confirming you're 'OK' with this purchase being made for a minor".
- "Sorry Madam/Sir. According to our records we're unable to sell you that game".
- [other questions related to sharing personal data, possibly about minors, with strangers].
Quite the proposition when put that way.
[sample flyer that might be handed out/put in bag at purchase or alternatively, rather than using tax-payers money to produce yet another study/hold more conferences/discussions that conclude the same way, money could be used to print flyers, similar to the above perhaps (do not use, sample only based upon PEGI marketing materials/guidelines - note also deliberate use of hyperbolic language to get the attention of target, i.e. parent, "fear", "risk", "danger" etc.), for a leaflet drop through letter boxes of "to whom it may concern"]