Advice for parents about computer games

Posted: Sunday, February 3, 2013 - 11:01am

On 1 January 2013, new law about computer games commenced.

The new law places obligations on anyone selling, advertising or demonstrating R 18+ computer games, as well as parents/guardians and young people aged 15-17 years. There are significant financial penalties for breach of these laws.

Note:
A “minor” in this article means a person under 18 years of age.
As at the date of this article, every $110 is equal to one penalty unit.

New offences for R 18+ computer games
Under the NSW Classification Act, it is an offence:

1. for a person to sell or deliver to a minor a computer game classified R 18+ (or an unclassified computer game that would, if classified, be classified R 18+), unless the person is a parent or guardian of the minor. Maximum penalty: $11,000 for an individual. $22,000 penalty units for a corporation (section 30(1A)). Note: defences available.

2. for a parent or guardian of a minor to permit the minor to attend the public demonstration of an R 18+ computer game (or an unclassified computer game that would, if classified, be classified R 18+). Maximum penalty: $2,200 (section 30A).

3. for a minor aged 15-17 years to buy an R 18+ computer game or attend the demonstration of an R 18+ computer game in a public place, knowing that the computer game is so classified. Maximum penalty: $550 (section 31).

4. for a person to publicly demonstrate an R 18+ computer game in a minor’s presence. Maximum penalty: $5,500 for an individual. $11,000 for a corporation (section 31A(1)). Note: defences available.

5. for a person to privately demonstrate an R 18+ computer game in a minor’s presence, unless the person is a parent or guardian of the minor (section 33(1A). Maximum penalty: $5,500. Note: defence available.

6. for a person to publicly demonstrate an R 18+ computer game if the determined markings are not exhibited before the computer game is demonstrated. Maximum penalty: $5,500 for an individual. $11,000 for a corporation (section 34(1)).

Parental discretion
Parents and guardians have discretion to:
• make R 18+ computer games available to their children (section 30(1A))
• privately demonstrate R 18+ computer games in the presence of their children (section 33(1A)).

However, parents and guardians do not have discretion to allow their children to attend public demonstrations of R 18+ computer games. Maximum penalty for a parent or guardian who permits their children to do so, is $2,200 (section 30A).