Dr. Byron Checks in on Her Report Two Years Later

Two years after the release of the UK’s Byron Report, Dr. Tanya Byron has weighed in with a follow up which details the progress made towards ensuring the digital safety of children.

In kicking off her review of progress to-date (PDF), Byron wrote, “In the last two years there has been significant progress on improving children’s digital safety which I am pleased to highlight in this report.”

In reference to videogames, Byron called the progress made since 2008 “significant,” specifically citing three aspects:

•  work to establish a clearer system for the age classification of video games;
•  robust legislation which makes it possible for retailers to be prosecuted for the sale of age-restricted products to underage children; and
•  improved adherence to advertising guidelines by video games publishers.

Given the growth of videogames since her 2008 report, Byron suggested that videogame representatives should be given priority when it came to filling vacancies on the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) executive board.

Byron also recommended that the UKCCIS commission a report on whether or not a “code of conduct” is needed for the online and casual games market. The report is due in September 2010.

Byron proposes that the UKCCIS board commission the videogame industry and “other working groups,” to:

•  decide whether we need minimum standards for parental controls, for example clear, understandable set up procedures, password protection;
•  examine whether there should be an independent review process for parental control standards; and
•  work with the public awareness working group to ensure that awareness of video gaming parental controls is included in the UKCCIS public awareness campaign.

It was further suggested by Byron, that, upon PEGI becoming the sole videogame rating system in the UK, that the industry, retailers and the government invest in raising public awareness of PEGI.

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