R18+: Have Your Voice Heard!

I’m not what you’d call a big grassroots political kind of person. Really the only thing I was ever actively involved in was the Internet Filter malarkey (which in fact was the original inspiration for this blog). Still I’ve become more politically motivated recently when things started hitting closer to home, namely when Left 4 Dead 2 was refused classification in Australia. So you can imagine my surprise this morning when Triple J’s news headlines had a bit of a negative beat up on the R18+ rating, considering their demographic is the people who feel most strongly about it.  Doing a little bit of digging this morning found that they had just taken the negative spin on the larger piece of news which was that the government is reaching out to the public for consultation on this matter:

The Federal Government has this afternoon released a discussion paper on the merits of an R18+ classification for video games. The move is part of a round of public consultation on the issue that will continue until the end of February next year.

The paper contains a brief overview of the National Classification Scheme and outlines the arguments both for and against the introduction of an R18+ rating for video games. It also describes how the Australian public may make a submission and let their voices be heard in the debate.

They’re not kidding around either, they’re taking submissions by email, fax and good old snail mail. Filling out the form takes about 5~10 minutes (depends on how much of a rant you go on in the comments) and we really need all the support we can get on this matter in order to overwhelm the current road block of Senator Atkinson. If the public comes out and overwhelmingly supports the movement his hyperbolic rhetoric will get him no where and he’ll have to concede. So take 5 minutes out of your day and download the form and fill it out and then send it to [email protected]. Here’s my submission to them:

Today in Australia the average age of a person who plays games is 30 years of age and over 90% of all Australians support a R18+ rating for games. Denying the gamer demographic a R18+ rating fails to recognise that the majority are mature adults that are capable of making informed decisions about the media that they consume. It is a hangover from times when the computer games industry was in its infancy and should be modernised. Refusing to do so only serves to damage Australia’s reputation amongst game developers locally and world wide.

Ultimately the responsibility for minor’s consumption of material such as that contained in R18+ games lies with the parents. In an increasingly technologic society minors are more capable than ever of obtaining such material illegitimately, and will continue to do so. Having such a rating would increase awareness of such material and ultimately ensure that parents are more informed and can then properly regulate their children’s consumption of said media. Simply denying classification only drives the problem underground.

Australia’s lack of a R18+ rating for games makes no sense to the wider international community and only damages our reputation as a progressive, modern country. The introduction of a R18+ rating requires little effort from all require parties with distinct, tangible benefits to be had. I fully support the introduction of such a classification and encourage the government to change its stance on this issue as swiftly as possible.

So please, send this around, get the word out and let’s show the government that us mature gamers want and deserve a rating for our choice of media. Australia’s policies on this matter are in dire need of being modernised and the more people that speak out the more chance we have of making some real difference in this matter.

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