How to Pick Appropriate Video Games for Children

With the popularity of video games forever growing, knowing how to pick appropriate games for children can be a daunting task. Gaining knowledge is one the best weapons in a parent’s arsenal for protecting children from video game violence and other inappropriate material. Researching and understanding the video game rating system and knowing what type of content the game contains before heading to the store can save a parent a lot of time, hassle and buyer’s regret.

Age Specific Guidelines for Video Games

Video game violence and it’s affects on children is continually being debated. Though there are age specific guidelines that are followed when rating video games, a parent must remember that these are usually based on one set standard. The individual child’s maturity level as well a family’s particular set of values may not fall within these guidelines. The rating system for video games is meant to be used as an informational step towards an informed decision, not the final answer as to it’s appropriateness for every child in that age group.

Understanding the Rating System Used For Video Games

As stated before, in answer to parental concern on video game violence and other video game affects on children, many games have age specific ratings listed on them that has been provided by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). The standards of these ratings are as follows:

âÂ?¢ “EC” or Early Childhood which usually means appropriate for ages 3 and up and doesn’t contain material that is unsuitable for young eyes

âÂ?¢ “E” or Everyone which means it is appropriate for ages 6 and up and contains only what is called “comic mischief” that usually translates to the type of slapstick violence that is found in old cartoons.

âÂ?¢ “E10+” or Everyone 10 and Older which means it is meant for children ages 10 and up. It is usually just a step up from the “E” rated games in the sense that it may contain mild violence beyond the “comic mischief” as well other themes that may be inappropriate for younger children.

âÂ?¢ “T” or Teen is akin to the “PG-13” rating found on movies. It may contain mature content such as violence, suggestive themes as well as strong language concerns.

âÂ?¢ “M” or Mature is aimed at those who are ages 17 and up. These video games may contain strong language and violence as well as sexual themes and scenes.

âÂ?¢ “AO” or Adults Only is meant for those over the age of 18. Games rated AO may contain intense scenes of violence and/or terror as well as explicit sexual themes.

âÂ?¢ “RP” means simply that the Rating is Pending by the ESRB.

Though parents can use this video game rating system as a starting point in choosing the appropriate ones for their children, they are encouraged to read the warnings of content that is usually listed under each rating as well.

Some Material in Video Games That Would Not Be Appropriate For Children

Factors that determine the age specific rating on video games include containing material that may be inappropriate for children. This includes the following:
âÂ?¢ Intense violence- Games such as the “Resident Evil” series or “Hitman” series have scenes that include realistic scenes that contain blood, torture and death.
âÂ?¢ Strong Language- There is actually very few games that only contain foul language without other elements such as excessive violence thrown in. These can include video games based on popular TV series such as “Miami Vice” or hit movies such as “The Godfather the Game”.
âÂ?¢ Nudity and sexual content- Strong sexual content does not always mean nudity such as in “The Guy Game” or “The Playboy Mansion”. Some games contain partial nudity or just suggestive themes. This area is always a little fuzzy, so if this is a parental concern, any game that has a warning for sexual content should be researched thoroughly.
âÂ?¢ Questionable values- Games such as the “Grand Theft Auto” series glorify illegal activities such as stealing, running from the police and use of drugs.
� Opportunities for unsupervised online play- With more gaming systems available to be hooked up for online play, this also raises the concern of children interacting with strangers. Safety should always be a top priority when considering buying the newest game.

Where Parents Can Research Video Games

More information about the video game rating system can be found at on the ESRB website, the address to which is listed in the resource section at the end of this article. You can also search for ratings on specific video game titles as well as find appropriate video games by content or the type of video game system that you own.

When researching a specific video game, parents need to find out what specific content that it contains instead of just relying on a general warning such as “Violence” or “Adult Themes”. In order to protect children from video game violence or other inappropriate material, a parent must stay informed.

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