It’s been a busy couple of months here at the VSC as we wrestle with games needing a rating, but also combining that with work outside of our usual remit. In addition, we’ve acquired a brand-new Director General in the form of Ian Rice. Ian has been with us for quite a while, gradually working his way up the career ladder and landing the top job.
Having joined us from a multinational networking company, Ian is well versed in all matters digital and has served a full apprenticeship as a video games examiner before moving on to help develop things like the PEGI ratings criteria and helping to establish IARC (International Age Rating Coalition) with other regulators around the globe.
Our information and training package for schools – which I touched on last time – is currently being trialled by several schools in the UK, so we hope this proves to be a good indicator for future take-up.
On top of this, you’ve probably seen recent press reports criticising certain social networking sites – I’m sure you can guess who they are – for their apparent inability to prevent the more extreme material from being published. Indirectly, we have been asked by a major UK children’s charity to help promote safe internet use and are currently putting together some relevant info for them.
The controversy that shop bought, physical video games once used to generate appears to have moved online well and truly. While we have no control over what people may say to one another when engaged in multi-player online games, we can at least try to ensure that players – younger children in particular – are at least aware of what potential problems may arise when chatting to complete strangers, and what steps they can take to reduce the risks.
It's rather depressing that we feel it necessary to do this, but until the online community learn to be rather more polite and respectful in their interactions with one another, we must take what limited measures we have to combat a seemingly growing problem. It would, of course, also help if those who manage sites were a little more pro-active and robust in their response to abusive or bullying behaviour, but until they get their act together it is likely that organisations such as major children’s charities will have to provide the necessary help and information.