With summer break in full swing, many guardians may find themselves overwhelmed with the gaming landscape we have today. Previously, I wrote about a child-friendly game called safyKids; however, we can do more in-depth into gaming safety. Today we will discuss video game ratings, keeping personal information safe, and more.
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
The ESRB is an organization that assigns age and content ratings for video games in the United States and Canada. These ratings are on packaging and promotional materials for all video games, similar to movie ratings. Below is a table of the ratings and their descriptions.
|Rating Pending (RP)||This is assigned to games that have not yet received their final rating.|
|Rating Pending – Likely Mature 17+ (RP)||Similar to the previous RP, this is assigned when a game has yet to be reviewed but is likely to be a mature game.|
|Everyone (E)||Games with this rating are suitable for all ages.|
|Everyone 10+ (E10+)||Games with this rating are suitable for children aged ten and up. They may have cartoonish violence, mild language, and/or minimal suggestive themes.|
|Teen (T)||Games with this rating are suitable for those 13 and up. They may contain violence, crude humor, minimal blood, and some strong language.|
|Mature 17+ (M)||Games with this rating are suitable for those 17 and up. They may contain violence, blood and/or gore, sexual content, and strong language.|
|Adults Only 18+ (AO)||Games with this rating are only suitable for adults. They may contain sexual content, intense violence, or nudity. Gambling games that use real money would also have this rating.|
Pan European Game Information (PEGI)
The United Kingdom uses a similar rating system known as PEGI. Below is a table of the ratings and their descriptions.
|PEGI 3||Games with this rating are considered appropriate for all ages.|
|PEGI 7||Games with this rating would typically be rated at 3; however, they share frightening scenes or sounds. Unrealistic violence and implied violence are acceptable.|
|PEGI 12||Games with this rating allow for more graphic and realistic violence toward fantasy characters. Sexual innuendos, mild language, and horror content can be found at this level.|
|PEGI 16||Games with this rating depict more realistic violence against human characters. Sexual content, strong language, crime, and tobacco and alcohol use can be seen at this level.|
|PEGI 18||Games with this rating have intense violence categorized as “gross.” In addition, the use of illegal drugs and more visible sexual content can be found at this level.|
Keep Personal Information Personal
It can be easier said than done when keeping personal information personal. Unfortunately, many kids have no filter; however, it is essential to have these conversations. This is especially important if the child is playing online multiplayer games. Anyone could be on the other side of that screen, and having open lines of communication is vital.
Other Helpful Tips
Video game safety is paramount, and there are many ways a parental figure can help. Most video game consoles have parental controls that allow users to block harmful content. Antivirus software can also aid in keeping computers and personal files safe. Additionally, joining the child during game time can benefit both parties. It allows for bonding time, but one can check on the content the child is absorbing. Finally, taking a break from gaming to play in the physical world is also beneficial. While I primarily write about video games, even I can acknowledge that time away from the screen allows for a necessary balance.