Video/computer games have come a long way. Technology has
brought the variety and realism to a point that could only
have been imagined as recently as ten years ago. With this
increase in technology, video/computer games have become
more educational, more entertaining, and in some cases, a
greater concern to child development experts.
The increase in realism that allows young players to manipulate
Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to spell words or say thank
you also allows players of other games to manipulate extremely
violent, graphically sexual, and increasingly disturbing
images on monitors all over the world.
Child development experts are concerned that the amount
of time children spend playing these games, the lack of parental
supervision, and the lack of availability children have to
discuss the gaming experience with a responsible and caring
adult. When any or all of these factors are present, a child
could have an unrealistic world view and participate in self-destructive
According to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB),
choosing the right game for your child takes a little time,
but it is worth the effort. ESRB makes the following suggestions:
Tips for Parents
- Learn about a game's content before making a purchase
decision. Parents will find that game reviews printed in
newspapers and magazines, and on the internet, are excellent
sources of information.
- Check the rating and content descriptors before you head
out to the store by visiting www.esrb.org, where you can
search games by title, rating, content descriptor, publisher
- Talk to other parents and older children. This is a good
way to learn about computer and video games.
- Play computer and video games with your children, watch
what they are playing and talk with them about games as
often as possible. Consider your child's unique personality
and abilities when selecting computer and video games.
ESRB has compiled the following computer/video games ratings
- Titles rated EC - (Early Childhood) have
content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains
no material that parents would find inappropriate.
- Titles rated E (Everyone) have content
that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this
category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence
and/or infrequent use of mild language.
- Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have
content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles
in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild
violence, mild language, and/or minimal suggestive themes.
- Titles rated T (Teen) have content that
may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category
may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal
blood and/or infrequent use of strong language.
- Titles rated M (Mature) have content
that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles
in this category may contain intense violence, blood and
gore, sexual content, and/or strong language.
- Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content
that should only be played by persons 18 years and older.
Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of
intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.
- Titles listed as RP (Rating Pending) -
have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final
rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior
to a game's release.)
For a complete list of all ESRB ratings, content descriptors,
and their definitions, visit www.esrb.org