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Dutch research underlines importance of PEGI for casual games

Hilversum, 30 March 2009
The favourite internet activity of Dutch children is playing casual games, yet a number of casual games portals are not suitable for children. They contain casual games that are violent and can be harmful to young children. One in eight children has played an online casual game that s/he found frightening or which shocked him or her. This is the conclusion of new research carried out in the by the My Child Online foundation [Dutch: Mijn Kind Online], in cooperation with the Netherlands Institute for the Classification of Audio-visual Media

Both organisations are arguing in favour of the introduction of PEGI Online – a label that shows whether the provider has taken measures to protect minors – on casual games portals. PEGI is currently being adapted for use with casual games (seewww.pegi.info). 

Children play online 16+ games
The research revealed that all 8 to 12-year-olds play games on the internet; usually casual games on games portals. The same casual games are also popular among 6 and 7-year-olds, however: some 60% of whom play these. The research survey was carried out among 480 children aged between 6 and 12 years. 
A large number of casual games portals were also examined critically, and the more violent casual games submitted to the criteria of the PEGI classification system. 

Conclusion: all casual games portals popular with children contain games that would be given a PEGI rating of 16+ owing to violence – without the sites in question pointing this out.

In the report on the survey Next Level – dossier on online games for children, the My Child Online foundation makes recommendations for making casual games sites more child-friendly, and provides tips for parents on talking to their children about games. “And this is necessary, because casual games websites take far too little account of this group of young users”, says Remco Pijpers, director of the My Child Online foundation, and one of the authors of the report. My Child Online also gives criteria for good casual games and indicates their suitability for particular age groups.


High time for PEGI Online
According to NICAM director Wim Bekkers, the report underlines the necessity of product information on casual games portals. “The research shows that even very young children can be confronted with harmful material. This is a new segment in the games world; one which is expanding rapidly, and to which we need to pay attention. It is therefore high time that the casual games portals took their responsibilities seriously. With the application of PEGI Online, they could take a big step in the right direction.”

Download and contact
The report can be downloaded here:  Download PDF: Casual_Games_research

Further information on NICAM and PEGI Online: Wim Bekkers, info@nicam.cc, phone +31 356460860

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