Today is the age of technology savvy children where some children know more than adults. So when you are picking up a video game for your child or when they are off playing in their bedroom, consider if that game is really just harmless fun. Video games are no longer just for kids, sure Mario Brothers and Sonic still exist, but games have gotten a lot more sophisticated and adult oriented. So the next time you walk past your child's games, take a look at the cover and see what he is really being exposed to.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is the organization in the United States that created the video game rating system. This system evaluates games for age appropriateness, content, and other factors. The ESRB rating is placed on the box with a code that describes the game and then specific content descriptions are on the back. These would be comments like violent material and other such statements.
eC is the rating for early childhood. These games are preschool titles that are suitable for children three and older. These games contain no material that parents would believe to be inappropriate. E is the rating for everyone, which is actually for everyone six and older. These games may contain some mild mischief, comic behavior, or mild language. These games are mostly appropriate and make good family choices.
e10 + is for everyone ten years of age or older. These games have a little more comic mischief or some comic fantasy. These games are a still appropriate but have may have some language or topics for older children. T is for Teen and is geared towards children that are thirteen and older. It includes slightly stronger language and some mild violence or other behavior.
M is Mature rated games and according to most older children these are the really fun games. These games contain violence, strong, language, and maybe some nudity. These games are for individuals seventeen years of age or older. Most of the highly popular video games fall into this category. If you would not want your child to watch this type of material on television, then do not let them play these types of games either. Ao is games that are for Adults only. These are the games that contain strong violence and sexual themes.
If you are unsure if you would want your child to play a particular game, check the content descriptor label on the back of the box. This box will tell you the items that may be considered inappropriate such as lyrics, mischief, adult humor, sexual themes, etc. If you are okay with the description in the label, then it is probably a game they can play. But do not count on just the ratings alone, look at reviews by parents and talk to the store clerk if you have questions. Most of them play these games and can give you a good description.
But do not stop there, watch your child play the game and decide if it's okay. Sure you may have spent a bit on the game, but you can always put it away until your child is older. Take a look at the ratings and decide if the game is really suitable for your child.