Children use video games as a fun way of interacting with others, even with other players around the world. This could compromise your children’s safety if precautions are not made and awareness is not taught. With the help of the Entertainment Software Rating Board or ESRB, users will know if a video game or mobile app’s ratings is suitable for young gamers. ESRB assigns age and content ratings for these games and apps. They are also responsible for enforcing, advertising and marketing to help the gaming industry implement responsible online behavior and etiquette.
Here are the ESRB guidelines:
Rating Categories – Suggest age appropriateness.
Content Descriptors – Indicate content that may have affected a particular rating and/or may be of interest or concern.
Interactive Elements – Inform about aspect of a game which includes a user’s ability to interact, shares location and personal information that can be collected or shared by the developers, if in-app purchases of digital goods are completed, and/or if unrestricted internet access is provided.
Content is intended for young children.
Suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Content suitable only for adults ages 18 and up. May include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content and/or gambling with real currency.
Not yet assigned a final ESRB rating. Appears only in advertising, marketing and promotional materials related to a “boxed” video game that is expected to carry an ESRB rating, and should be replaced by a game’s rating once it has been assigned.
NOTE: Rating Category assignments can also be based upon a game or app’s minimum age requirement.
Here are some tips to help parents guide their children while playing video games:
Check the ratings and Game reviews
Set Parental Controls, Privacy and Limitation
Being vigilant and aware of cyberbullies
Conversation with your children
Download ESRB Rating Search Application
Be involved – Parental involvement is the best tool parents have in managing and monitoring online safety. Keeping your computer or gaming console in a common area that can keep your eye and ears on the action, and talk with your kids about what they play and whom they’re playing with.
Look out for mods – Some games offer players the ability to modify their content, in ways that are not consistent with the ESRB rating. These changes can be made by using a special cheat device or downloadable program called “mod.”
The ESRB strongly encourages parents to familiarize themselves with their ratings.
With the help of ESRB, parents can be aware of what type of games their children play.
Visit ESRB website to know more.