The Federal Government has this afternoon released a discussion paper on the merits of an R18+ classification for video games. The move is part of a round of public consultation on the issue that will continue until the end of February next year.
The paper contains a brief overview of the National Classification Scheme and outlines the arguments both for and against the introduction of an R18+ rating for video games. It also describes how the Australian public may make a submission and let their voices be heard in the debate.
Briefly, the key arguments against are:
* Computer games should be treated differently from films given the specific, negative effects of interactivity on players, particularly their participation in violent and aggressive content. * It would be difficult for parents to enforce age restrictions for computer games. * Minors would be more likely to be exposed to computer games that are unsuitable for them. * An R 18+ for computer games would exacerbate problems associated with access to high level material in Indigenous communities and by other non-English speaking people * There is no demonstrated need to change existing restrictions.
And, the key arguments for are:
* The R 18+ classification category sends a clear, unambiguous message to parents that the game material is unsuitable for minors * Consistent classification categories for films and computer games are easier to understand * A new classification will supplement technological controls on minors’ access to age inappropriate computer games * Adults should not be prevented from playing R 18+ level computer games simply because they are unsuitable for minors * Comparable international classification systems have an adult rating for computer games – international parity is desirable * Consumers access games which would be R 18+ illegally – it would be better if they were legally available with appropriate restrictions
Please download the full discussion paper at the link below, along with the instructions on how to make a submission. An R18+ Classification for Computer Games – Public Consultation [Attorney-General’s Dept]