Karyn Horowitz, MD discusses how to become familiar with video game ratings to determine if they are appropriate for your child.
Video game ratings and descriptions are designed to inform the consumer about the content of video games for sale or for rent. According to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the rating system has two parts: the symbol, which suggests what is age appropriate for the game, and the content descriptors, which explain the content of the game.
EC/Early Childhood: Content may be suitable for ages three and older. The game does not provide material that is inappropriate.
E/Everyone: Content may be suitable for ages six and older. This category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and language.
E10+/Everyone Ten and Older: Content may be suitable for ages ten and older. This category may contain cartoons, fantasy, mild violence and language and minimal suggestive themes.
T/Teen: Content may be suitable for ages 13, and older. This category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood and infrequent use of strong language.
M/Mature: Content may be suitable for ages 17, and older. This category may contain intense violence, blood, gore, sexual content, and strong language.
AO/Adults Only: Content may be suitable for ages 18-years and older. This category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and graphic sexual content and nudity.
RP/Rating Pending: Games with this listing are awaiting final rating from the ESRB. This symbol appears in advertising prior to a game's release.
Before you buy a video game, check the ratings. Carefully read the game's description and look at the pictures displayed on the game box. Talk to other parents about the video games your children play.
If you want to try out a video game before you buy it, rent it from your local video store.