Master thesis presentation: The Cultural Aspect of Video Game Regulation Practices
Marita Eriksen Haugland is presenting her master thesis: The Cultural Aspect of Video Game Regulation Practices. A comparative study of the differences in video game rating practices between Europe and Japan
Video games have become a large part of media consumption, both for adults and children. This study contributes to the field of children and media by looking into the perceptions and construction of risk by self-regulatory organizations, as well as into self-regulatory effectiveness. The thesis also discusses the struggle and the compromises between child safety, cultural differences and freedom of expression. It takes up the question of how the cultural differences affect the age ratings and content descriptors. All video games rated in Europe and Japan between 2010-2016 are analyzed to show the differences between the regions. Also, content analyses are performed on 24 video games with emblematic differences in age ratings or content descriptors. The findings suggest that cultural differences in how the two systems view crime, non-realistic violence, realistic blood, non-sexual nudity, romantic behavior, and sexualized behavior is responsible for some of the differences in age ratings and content descriptors. This thesis suggests that regulators should implement measures for further transparency so that it would be possible for caregivers to acquire the knowledge of whether the assessment was made on the basis of cultural perceptions or research-based studies on risk and harm.
The presentation is open to public.