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Keywords:

  • videogames;
  • violence;
  • legislation;
  • United Kingdom;
  • United States of America;
  • parental responsibility

This article explores the way that politicians and legislators have responded to concerns over the link between videogames and violence in the UK, particularly in terms of ensuring that inappropriate content remains inaccessible to minors. It explores the recent changes to the regulatory framework centred on videogames, arguing that the move to a universal statutory framework has implications that are more symbolic than real-policy is still underpinned by the ‘precautionary principle’ and the framework remains equally likely to be undermined by the actions of parents who ignore ratings and purchase age-inappropriate games for their children. Perhaps predictably, the political establishment has been unwilling to engage with this parental neglect, attributing it to ‘ignorance’ and ‘the need for a simplification of the ratings system’. This paper argues that such responses are essentially a smokescreen used by governments which are understandably unwilling to take prosecutions into the home and retail space.