Parents admit to buying unsuitable video games for their children.

Parents welcome single rating system Photo: ITV

Parents in the region have welcomed a new single rating system for video games which comes into force today. Legally enforceable unified age ratings are to be applied to all video games to ensure parents are clear about what their children should and shouldn't be playing. 40% of parents in the North East and Cumbria admitted to buying a video game that was unsuitable for their child and 94% say the new ratings system is required.

The age rating system is designed toprotect younger children. Up until today the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) provided 15 and 18 certificates, however, not 12 certificates for video games, meaning it was technically legal to sell a 12-rated game to younger children.

All games soldin the UK will now be regulated under the Europe-wide PEGI (Pan European GameInformation) scheme.

The new system will end the BBFC's role in ratingvideo games, unless they contain explicit sexual content that warrants an R18 rating, but make all PEGI ratings made by the UK-based Video Standards Council(VSC) legally enforceable. The changes mean anyone selling a 12-certificategame to a child under that age in the UK could be jailed.