Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Justice and Equality
494. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if there are plans to introduce age ratings for online and electronic games for those under 18 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [62876/21]
The legislation dealing with the sale and/or distribution of physical video games is the Video Recordings Act 1989. Video games are exempted works for classification purposes unless they fall within the terms provided for in section 3(1)(a) or (b), which covers the grounds for the prohibition of works.
Ireland is part of the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) system, which is a Europe-wide rating system with regard to video games. The Director of the Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) is on the council of PEGI.
PEGI is not incorporated into Irish law. It is a European self-regulation initiative set up in 2003 to rate video games on the basis of age classification. These classifications are then subject to independent verification before a supply licence is issued to the publisher. Video games are classified by age appropriateness at the following age levels: 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+ and 18+.
In order for a publisher to obtain a distribution licence for Ireland, IFCO must view video games which are rated as 18+ to allow the Director of Film Classification to form an opinion as to whether such games fall within the terms provided for in section 3(1)(a) or (b) of the Video Recordings Act 1989.
The classification systems set out above are designed to provide useful information as to the content of the product. In particular, the intention is to assist parents or guardians in making informed choices concerning the games they might buy for their children or which they permit their children to use. In this context, parents are the best placed to ensure the safety of their children.