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ESRB: The Video Game Ratings You Need To Know
When it comes to buying games for your kids there’s a ratings system that’s designed to make sure you’re doing it right. There’s been a lot made of whether or not violent video games cause violence, but the real point here is that shouldn’t matter: your kids shouldn’t be playing violent video games, and you have an easy way to know whether a game is right for your child or not.
The ESRB or Entertainment Software Ratings Board is a regulatory body put in place by the entertainment industry to ensure that parents have the right tools to make the call when it comes to buying games for their kids.
ESRB ratings can be found in a few places: on the front of the package, or at the start of a download when you’re buying a game online. Ratings are made up of three parts:
Rating Categories: this rating suggests age appropriateness. If you have younger kids you’ll want to watch out for Ao – Adults Only, and M for Mature. These two categories most likely have themes of violence, profanity, or other challenging issues.
Content Descriptors: these are descriptions as to why the game may have received its rating.
Interactive Elements: this will let you know how users can interact in this game, including what type of information in shared with the manufacturer, like the sharing of personal information or location.
What to avoid:
Games like Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, and Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag all feature violent content that make them inappropriate for younger players. If you choose to allow your children to play these games, be aware that they will see content that may be inappropriate for them. Sit with them and supervise their play, and offer to explain what’s going on; by maintaining the clear separation between fantasy and reality, you can help your kids understand what’s going on.
It’s still our recommendation that you don’t purchase or allow your children to play games that are rated M for Mature, or T for Teen. Use the ratings guide and make smarter buying decisions. Your kids might really want that that game, but without the right support and guidance, they probably shouldn’t be playing it.
Have you found your kids playing videos games that you thought to be inappropriate? Let us know in the comments below!
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