New Zealand's Chief Censor David Shanks has announced two bans.
The first was a document said to have been shared by the terrorist who killed two people in Halle, Germany earlier this month. It has been classified as objectionable under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993. A live
stream of the event had already been banned.
Shanks also banned is a low priced video game that puts the player in the role of a killer called Brenton Torrent with the game play consisting solely of the murder of defenceless people. He said:
The Shitposter from 2 Genderz Productions, that celebrates the livestream of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch, is classified objectionable.
The creators of this game set out to produce and sell a game designed to place the player in the role of a white supremacist terrorist killer. In this game, anyone who isn't a white heterosexual male is a target for simply existing.
This game is cheaply and crudely made, with little or no appeal in terms of the challenge of its gameplay. Everything about this game, from the name of the shooter character down to its purchase price ($14.88) makes it clear that this is a
product created for and marketed to white supremacists who are interested in supporting and celebrating white extremist attacks.
The games producers will try to dress their work up as satire but this game is no joke.
The argument about loot boxes being gambling is very tiresome. The debate about whether they are akin to gambling has become more important than the debate about how to keep children safe. Surely Loot boxes can be deemed an unacceptable
monetisation method for children on its own merits, without trying to match apples to pears.
Longfield seems a bit new to the job, she is now calling for small games to be fully vetted by censors when this approach was given up ten years ago due to the unmanageable volume and unviable economics of expensive censors checking small games.
She is also dreaming that age verification is some sort of panacea for all societies ills. Parents generally know exactly what age their kids are, but the knowledge doesn't magically make for an idyllic childhood.
Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England, has published a report,
Gaming the system' which looks at the experiences of children who play games online. The Children's Commissioner's Office commissioned the research company Revealing Reality to speak to groups of children who play online games like FIFA,
Fortnite and Roblox about what they love and what worries them about gaming, both to shine a light on their experiences and to inform policy recommendations.
With 93% of children in the UK playing video games, the Children's Commissioner is today calling for new rules to tighten up gambling laws and to address the worries children have expressed about how they feel out of control of their spending on
However, it also reveals the drawbacks, in particular highlighting how many children are spending money on 'in-game' purchases because they feel they have to in order to keep up with friends or to advance in the game.
The report also shows how some children feel addicted to gaming and do not feel in control of the amount of time they spend playing games. Younger children told us they are playing games for an average of two to three hours a day, whereas older
children are playing for three or more hours.
To address the concerns raised by children in the report, the Children's Commissioner makes a number of recommendations, including:
Bringing financial harm within the scope of the Government's forthcoming online harms legislation. Developers and platforms should not enable children to progress within a game by spending money and spending should be limited to items which are
not linked to performance.
All games which allow players to spend money should include features for players to track their historic spend, and there should be maximum daily spend limits introduced in all games which feature in-game spending and turned on by default for
The Government should take immediate action to amend the definition of gaming in section 6 of the Gambling Act 2005 to regulate loot boxes as gambling.
The Government's age appropriate design code must include provisions on nudge techniques and detrimental use of data, as proposed in the draft code.
Games that are distributed online should be subject to a legally enforceable age-rating system, just as physical games are. There should be a requirement for an additional warning to be displayed for games which facilitate in-game spending. The
Government should consult on whether age ratings of all games should be moderated pre-release, just as physical games are.
Online games should be a key focus of digital citizenship lessons in schools, rather than lessons focusing exclusively on social media. Teachers involved in the delivery of these lessons should be familiar with how key online games that are
popular with children work.