The Byron Review is an independent report into the risks posed by inappropriate web and game-based content for children and young people, supported by the UK’s Department for Children, Schools and Families (formally the DfES), and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Shiny Shiny, a gadget site aimed at women, has a couple of interviews that focus on gaming within the review: with Dr. Byron, and with MD of Electronic Arts and London Gaming Festival chair Keith Ramsdale.
The two consultations are currently live over at the DCSF’s web site, one for children and young people under the age of 18 (closes 17 December 2007) and one for adult groups and individuals (closes 30 November 2007). The report is scheduled to be delivered March 2008 and seeks to "identify measures that will help all parents feel confident that their children are using new technologies and are playing video games in a way that’s appropriate for their age and development."
The framing seems pretty even handed at the moment, recognising the positive opportunities the internet and video gaming can offer young people, and approaching the risks in an identify-and-manage style. It’ll be very interesting to see what comes out of the review – in terms of advice and guidance, but also in terms of any longer term strategic cultural and economic actions. I for one would love the Government to recognise catch-22 of gender bias in gaming production and support some positive incentives around involving more women in game development and design.