BBFC: 74% of British Parents Want Something Like the BBFC

The battle for control over U.K. game ratings rages on…

The quasi-governmental British Board of Film Classification has released survey results which indicate that 74% of UK parents want video games to be rated by an independent (i.e., non-industry) body.

Like, say, the BBFC…

The content rating body, which has been locked in a bitter struggle for control of UK game ratings dominance with the PEGI system favored by the industry, reports that its figures come from a poll conducted on the British YouGov portal. Among its other conclusions:

  • 74% of parents are concerned about the content of some video games.
  • 79% of parents think video games may affect the behaviour of some children.
  • 74% of parents believe video games should be regulated by an independent regulator.
  • 77% of parents believe video game ratings should reflect the concerns of UK parents.
  • 82% of parents believe it would help them if video games used the same ratings as films and DVDs.

BBFC head David Cooke (left) commented on the survey data:

This poll clearly shows parents support a regulatory system for games that is independent of the industry and UK based, reflecting UK sensibilities and sensitivities… The BBFC has been classifying games for over 20 years and our decisions reflect the views of the public.  Our classification systems and symbols are known and trusted by the public and in a converging media world they want to know what their children are playing as well as watching.

Meanwhile, website techradar takes the BBFC to task, dismissing its survey as "hokum," The site criticizes the sample size (1329 parents) and suggests that leading questions were employed.

For its part, UK game publishers’ trade group ELSPA promised to throw money at the problem:

Our first concern is to protect British children… The independently administered PEGI system is the right solution for child safety.

Naturally we will support the PEGI system with a multi million pound campaign that helps parents understand that the right system for real protection of their children is PEGI.

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  1. beemoh says:

    Only in countries where "This Ratings Board…" appears in the law- a lot of the constitutional stuff we see stateside on GP is about how you can’t give governmental power to a private company- so while the ESRB has become the de facto ratings board for games in the US, the US aren’t allowed to write the ESRB into law.

    This is better shown by the US film ratings board. While the MPAA is the first ratings board brought up in relation to film sales in the US, niche film often isn’t rated by the MPAA unless it’s going to be shown in cinemas- the anime industry, for example, has clubbed together to create its own separate board, and stuff that isn’t film- such as DVD releases of TV shows- isn’t even rated at all.

    To that extent, it would be difficult- if not impossible- for the government to overthrow a ratings board.


  2. beemoh says:

    And 100% of credible scientists have solid proof that games don’t affect kids’ behaviour.

    I know which one I believe. It’s the scientists with their proof, as opposed to the randoms with their gut feelings.


  3. beemoh says:

    And the government are actively seeking for greater oversight of the BBFC.

    No direct links,sorry, but sniff around the recent Batman stuff and you’ll soon find it.


  4. State says:

    But the same could be said of just about all ratings agencies around the world. If PEGI were to rate all games, and the government didn’t like it they could easily legislate to let someone else do the job (which in effect is what the whole debate is about in the first place; the government deciding who should rate games).

  5. aphexbr says:

    Yeah, it’s all an excuse just like it was during my chikldhood of the "video nasties" era.

    The BBFC ratings are concise, accurate and clear. I cannot recall a time when I played a game and disagreed with the BBFC rating when it was available.The problem is that parents don’t want to take responsibility for their own actions. If they buy their 12 year-old kid an 18-rated game, they won’t admit they knew it was unsuitable, they’ll say "oh, was that bad? I didn’t understand…"

    Bull. BBFC ratings for games are identical to DVD ratings. PEGI ratings are also available which are ridiculously clear. Either control your kids or accept the consequences. Don’t pretend you don’t understand, you dumbass.

  6. State says:

    Actually I must take exception to the article, as what exactly is a quasi-governmental organisation? The BBFC is independent of the government and of the games industry. MPs may call for the BBFC to do something about a game, but that doesn’t mean that the BBFC actually would.

  7. Vordus says:

    The other 10% are going to be sorely disappointed when it turns out that corporations are just as untrustworthy.

  8. ZippyDSMlee says:

    I can do it too.

    90% of people are sheep and like to think gov based groups are trying to look out for them…………


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  9. daronicus says:

    "79% of parents think video games may affect the behaviour of some children."  That’s kind of misleading, isn’t it?  I mean, clearly video games affect some children adversely (chocolate milk kid anyone?), but something tells me that lawmakers are going to ignore that particular word.

  10. beemoh says:

     Given the current ratings logos (as PEGI have not implemented their coloured circle system yet) I’d suggest that the big, black-and-white box of PEGI is easier to understand than the BBFC "blob of colour amongst a sea of blobs of colour" system.

    First person to say "MadWorld", BTW, gets chainsawed.


  11. TheBampot says:

    Also games are required to have a much larger 18 symbol than DVDs (DVDs are about the size of a 5p coin while games the size of about a 50p coin). Its clearly obvious that a game is not for kids when there is a massive 18 at the bottom, ignorance (or eyesight) is not an excuse!!

  12. DarkSaber says:

    Well as it currently stands, games get the Big Red 18 on their front just like any DVD would under the BBFC. Can’t really get simpler than a big red 18 for an at-a-glance summary of the age rating.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  13. insanejedi says:

    Whoops. sorry.

    In that case the Pegi system is arguably even more eaisier than the ESRB, just because its symbol is simply the age number.

  14. beemoh says:

     >This servey is useless because there are ALREADY BBFC ratings on every game that is given a 12 rating and over.

    Not quite- the BBFC/PEGI split is some overcomplicated system of judgement calls which occasionally spills down to the 12 level, but has no ‘official’ line a rating crosses from one to the other.

    >Also wasn’t the Byron Review suggessting that the BBFC and PEGI should just work together instead of fighting for dominance?

    Yes and no. The Byron Review asked for a line like you describe in my first quote, but it basically euqted to "the BBFC get to do all the actual ratings, with PEGI sort of asked, a bit, to keep them happy and make them feel involved", and as it was only a recommendation anyway, the government did a public consultation to find out if the public wanted this system, just PEGI, just the BBFC or to leave everything as it is.

    A one-board system is probably the sensible option, the two-board system is confusing and more hassle than it’s worth, it’s just a matter of which board gets picked.


  15. TBoneTony says:

    I wonder if parents even have looked at the Videogame cases and realise that there is already the BBFC symbol on the case?

    They have been there for every Grand Theft Auto game, yet parents are still oblivious to it.

    All that parents really know about Videogames (if they have not played them) is that they get their information from the garbage that is the Daily Mail and missinformed Politicians (some of their information is nothing but slander too used to scare parents for politicial votes).

    This servey is useless because there are ALREADY BBFC ratings on every game that is given a 12 rating and over.

    Also wasn’t the Byron Review suggessting that the BBFC and PEGI should just work together instead of fighting for dominance?


  16. Bennett Beeny says:

    Yeah.  Statistics like this make me feel like I should be ashamed to be British.  It seems at least 74% of British parents are morons, which is 24% more morons than there are in America (figures based on the 2004 US general election where 50% of voters chose the ideologically motivated bunch of dumbasses who got us all into this global financial meltdown).

  17. DarkSaber says:

    Most british parents are idiots who like to cling to what they are used to from 20 years ago.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  18. State says:

    Whilst I have no idea why the BBFC did this survey (of course it would be in their favour if they spent money carrying it out) a lot of these findings are similar to those in the Byron report.

    People do prefer the look of the BBFC ratings over PEGI ratings (even PEGI have redesigned their ratings to look like the BBFC’s). There is already an issue regarding different European countries’ views on content (Germany is very strict). There is only one independent ratings board, the BBFC as PEGI is not.

    The issue that I have with PEGI (and a number of others) is the classification of what goes on online, like the apparent rating of language used by other players which is completely independent of the game’s content. How can that be rated? Are you saying that a 13-year-old kid that swears if 18-rated?

  19. Cheater87 says:

    Another ratings board for games seems like a great idea. 🙂  America has a ratings board for movies and another for games. So does Japan and lots of other countires.

  20. NovaBlack says:

    *sigh* this is such BS


    if somebody came up to me in the street, as a uk resident, id probably answer the same way as most of the ppl in the survey. What i dont get , is their strange leap of logic from those results, to interpreting them to mean that ‘the BBFC’ is preferred over other bodies. As far as i read it, the survey seems to ask questions talking about ‘regulation’ and other GENERAL non body specific ideas. How they then translate it to mean that people want the bbfc over other bodies is ridiculous.

    As for the ‘ want same ratings as films etc’ question, that is totally a leading question. If i were answering that question i would presume it meant ‘do you want to see ratings spanning U (universal – suitable for everyone) up to the equivalent of 18 rated, with divisions in between.’ As opposed to say, a coarser ratings system (e.g. consisting of say just 2 ratings – Child/Adult), or a ratings system with JUST advice/content descriptors, rather than age recommendations.  I wouldnt in any way take it to mean ‘Do you want the BBFC rating system over any alternative’.

  21. insanejedi says:

    I don’t know how they can’t know how the ESRB works, their basically equivilent to the MPAA. Even the R rating is harder to find than the ESRB M rating on boxes.



    T=PG 13



    Hard? I don’t think so.

  22. DCOW says:

    I find this hard to believe


    "82% of parents believe it would help them if video games used the same ratings as films and DVDs."


    quick math reveals that a little of 1000 parents believe that  videogames should have the same ratings as film and dvds?  Wow, you people are really damn hopeless.

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