When you are looking at video games for your family, it’s important to be aware of video game ratings and what they mean. Some games have too much violence, bad language or sexual content for young children.
Who Decided on the System for Video Game Ratings?
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is in charge of deciding on a game’s rating. They also rate apps. The rating system has three parts: the rating symbols, full content descriptions and interactive elements. The symbols are printed on the front of video games and the descriptions are on the back.
Video Game Ratings
- EC (Early Childhood aka 3+)
- E (Everyone aka 6+)
- E10+ (Everyone 10+)
- T (Teen aka 13+)
- M (Mature aka 17+)
- AO (Adults Only aka 18+, very adult content, a rating rarely given)
Where Do I Find It?
On the front of the game case you will find the rating categories while on the back of the box you will find the content descriptors. The descriptions give more information on what content may be questionable and why it has the rating it does so you can make an informed decision. For example maybe you are okay with your 13 year old playing video games with violence but not sexual content. Two games may be rated Teen but one is rated Teen for mild violence and the other for Suggestive Themes. The interactive element is included in any digital content and tells you if an app or digital game shares your personal info or location or if it has user to user content that can’t be covered by the ESRB.
If you want more explanation of a game’s rating while you are out and about, you can use the mobile app. The app is available for iOS/Android/Windows and gives you more detailed information. If you want more information while at home, you can use the Rating search on their website.
How Effective are ESRB Ratings?
A study conducted in 2013 found that:
85% of parents are aware of the ESRB rating system
73% regularly check a game’s rating before making a purchase
64% are aware of content descriptors, 82% of whom check them regularly
So clearly they are on the right track with getting information about the ESRB ratings out there but do parents trust them?
A study from the year before found that:
88% feel the ESRB rating system is either “very helpful” or “somewhat helpful” in choosing games for their children
I think the rating system makes sense and I use it when considering video games for my child. When they are old enough to use a smart phone and start downloading apps, I will introduce the system to them so they can make informed decisions.
Visual Learner? Watch the Video
If you prefer to see the short video on ESRB ratings and the mobile app, here you go.
Did you know about the ratings? Do you use them?
This post was NOT sponsored. I am just sharing helpful information about the ESRB ratings.