UK children's magazine promotes adult video games

Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:36am EST
 

By Tom Bergin

LONDON (Reuters) - A British magazine distributed by a joint venture of Conde Nast and Hearst Corporation and aimed at primary school children has been featuring images of adult-rated video games.

The most recent issue of Cool Kidz, which is published by privately-owned LCD Publishing, contained images of five games that carried age ratings of 18 years, under the European gaming industry's PEGI rating scheme.

Screenshots appeared as double-page spreads, for use as posters, and were reproduced in spot-the-difference and other puzzles. Earlier issues also had images from 18- and 16-rated games.

Children's campaigners said the images reflected a growing problem of young children being exposed to violent video games, thereby increasing the chance they start playing them earlier.

It also highlighted what some critics describe as an apparent gap in regulation of children's magazines since LCD does not appear to have broken any law or industry rule.

LCD Publishing, which is based in Exeter, southwest England, said it took its responsibilities to young readers seriously.

"We censor the images we use to ensure that there is no blood or apparent body damage," owner Allen Trump said in an emailed statement.

He said the images used were suitable for children 12 or older, although he added the magazine was targeted at children up to 12 years.   Continued...

 
A puzzle page from the no. 59 issue of Cool Kidz magazine is seen in this photo illustration shot in London, January 28, 2012. REUTERS/Simon Newman