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More videogames to face censor scrutiny

Byron Review wants to bubble-wrap kids, ISPs

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The ongoing Byron Review of the impact of technology on children will recommend a clampdown on violent videogames, it has been reported.

Saturday's edition of The Guardian claimed ministers "have a sense" that the probe into videogames and the internet will advise a statutory labelling scheme for all games.

At present, only games portraying sex or "gross" violence are subject to legal classification by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), which has recently been embroiled in a court battle over its ban of Manhunt 2.

A store selling a BBFC-rated game to someone underage is committing an offence. Publishers of games with less controversial content can choose to enter a voluntary pan-European age guidance system.

The review of child psychology literature, due to be published next month, has been headed by TV therapist Tanya Byron. It's reported it will also recommend adult content be included in separate government moves to make ISPs filter the internet.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith said last month she wanted to remove terrorist material from the internet, to howls of derision from technical quarters.

According to The Guardian, ministers are considering Tory proposals of an internet standards authority that would enforce a two-tier internet at ISP level "with users able to pick content suitable for adults or children". Of course, dozens of desktop applications already offer that ability. ®

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