27 March 2008

Byron reports

Dr Tanya Byron submitted her report to the Department for Children, Schools and Families on this day in 2008. The Byron Review considered the use by children of video games and the internet. It recommended that the classification system for games should be reformed in order to give the British Board of Film Classification a greater role. This had become a widely debated issue as a consequence of games such as Stanford County Correctional Facility series, which was notorious for its hidden features. The following letter to the Daily Mail typified the views of many parents…

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Patricia Hewitt enjoys a game

MINISTERS CLAMP DOWN ON VIDEO GAMES

Letter to the Daily Mail, March 2008

I am not a supporter of this government, but as a true parent I realise that vigilance must sometimes come before freedom, and I support its plan to clamp down on video games. This Christmas, having tired of Ludo and the other old favourites, we decided to try one of the new computer games. Unfortunately we plumped for “Stanford County Correctional Facility”, which turned out to be every bit as foul as its title suggests.

Worst of all was the “hidden” scene, which we were eventually able to access by purchasing a “hot coffee” mod from an American website. In this scene, the entire “Match of the Day” team are incarcerated and have to defend themselves from a gang of rapacious jailbirds. I will never forget the sight of Alan Shearer, naked to the waist with his trousers in rags, defending the honour of John Motson (whose sheepskin jacket remains mercifully intact). Suffice to say it ruined not only our family Christmas, but also our enjoyment of the BBC’s soccer coverage. Every time we hear “Motty” we are reminded of his pitiful cries. My youngest son can’t bear to watch at all.

Nicholas Ravenscroft,

Hayes, Middlesex

Picture: PA

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