Games containing representations of violence which both adversely affect and endanger the development of young persons are placed on the index of media deemed unsuitable for children and young persons by the Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM).
This means that such games are registered on the “List of media endangering young persons” pursuant to Article 18 of the German Children and Young Persons Protection Act (JuSchG). Computer games may only be “indexed” in this way if they do not have a German age rating symbol. The procedure is conducted by the “Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons”, a state body. “Indexed” games may in particular:
- not be supplied to children and young persons
- not be publicly advertised and displayed
- not be distributed via mail order.
Notwithstanding this, they must remain legally available to adults, either in a special shop to which only adults have access or via the Internet in a restricted user group for adults only. The website bundespruefstelle.de provides information on reasons for the “indexing” of games and on the work carried out by the Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons.