Computer games to get cigarette-style health warnings (UK)

Times OnLine 27 March 08

Video games will be forced to carry cigarette-style health warnings under proposals to protect children from unsuitable digital material. The report, commissioned by the Prime Minister in response to a growing moral panic about video games, will conclude that they can harm the development of children’s beliefs and value systems and desensitise them to violence. It will also recommend that retailers who sell video games to anyone under the age rating on the box should face a hefty fine or up to five years in prison, The Times has learnt.

The report, written by Tanya Byron, the clinical psychologist and television parenting guru, is also expected to address the dangers of children’s use of the internet. “Parents are afraid to let their children out,” she said. “So they keep them at home, but allow them to take risks online.” She will call for a massive campaign to educate parents, teachers and childcarers about how to ensure that children get maximum benefit from the digital world without being exposed to its dangers.