Video games released in the UK carry the familiar PEGI age ratings of 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18. These ratings help parents and other carers to make informed decisions about the games children play.
The ratings work best when everybody understands what the ratings mean and how they work. Not only parents and teachers but also children and young people, who often find it useful to know what a game contains.
The Video Standards Council (VSC) is responsible for issuing these age ratings and has worked with schools and colleges across the UK for many years to let children know about age ratings and other aspects of online safety. Over the last couple of years, the VSC’s focus has been on the resources it provides on its website, including free posters, worksheets and exercises for primary and secondary schools. Now that life is beginning to return to normal, the VSC is again able to offer presentations to schools and colleges.
Presentations will look at how the VSC’s examiners assess games and the issues that can result in a particular rating being awarded. For example, how the different types of characters found in games, such as fantasy characters versus more realistic characters, influence the ratings. Presentations include clips from games, which can be tailored according to the age of the students. They also touch on wider issues such as how to stay safe while playing online games, including the importance of reporting abusive behaviour. At the end of presentations, the VSC can answer any questions your students have.
Sessions can be delivered online, using Skype, or in person, subject to availability.
So, if you’re a teacher who would like to book a presentation for your students, please get in touch with the VSC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Also take a look at the free online education resources which you can sign up for on the VSC website at https://videostandards.org.uk/RatingBoard/schools.