As a parent of two and long time gamer, I habitually check ESRB ratings to make educated decisions about what games we play in my house. What do you know about ESRB and are you sure your children are playing appropriate games for their age?
In North America, video games have had the luxury of the ESRB rating system for nearly 20 years. With so many eyes looking at new consoles like the Wii U, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 (saved best for last people), parents need to exercise due diligence when shopping, buying and playing games with their kids.
This PSA video was created by the ESA and Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) to inform parents about the ratings system and raise awareness about knowing how it works. Allow me to assist with this educational process.
ESRB Ratings Categories
Content is intended for young children.
Content is generally 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 more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
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 game that is expected to carry an ESRB rating, and should be replaced by a game’s rating once it has been assigned.
In addition to understanding and recognizing the ESRB ratings on games in retail and on the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and eShop it’s may be beneficial to explain to your children why some games aren’t appropriate. How many times have you seen a 6-10 year old in a GameStop successfully convince his parent(s) to get him the latest Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty game? Ultimately, the parent dictates what is appropriate for their children. ESRB ratings are there to help make that decision easier.
Adversely, Disney Infinity is rated E10+, but I guarantee you that I’m not the only adult enjoying this content with his 6 year old. The online aspect and ability to create levels from one’s imagination must also be considered when allowing your kids to go online. Currently, 13 games for PS4 have ESRB ratings from E for Everyone to M for Mature.
Furthermore, game consoles themselves have the ability to block content not suitable for kids. On PS3 for example, Parental Settings can be found under the Settings column and in the Security Settings menu. Here, a parent can set a password to block access to games and movies as well as hide the thumbnail image associated with the blocked content.
To find out more, go to ESRB.org and read the owner’s manual that came with your gaming console. We will have How To videos uploaded to the PS4Daily YouTube channel to show off exactly how to do this on PlayStation 4 later this month.