How To Choose The Appropriate Video Games For Your Kids

Video games are more popular than ever before. I remembered the time when Modern Warfare 2 shattered box office and video game records with a worldwide estimated five-day sale of approximately $550 million. It was something phenomenal.

With enhanced graphics, interactive game play and a variety of gaming platforms, kids and adults eagerly await the next hot game.

Myself included 🙂

In the beginning, video games were universal. Everyone could play tennis or space invaders. There was nothing sinister there. Can you tell me who is not suitable for Mario Bros?

Currently, as the graphics have gotten more complex, so have the subject of the games themselves. Not all video games are suitable for all ages. You have to make your kids aware of the video game choices that are right for them. But before that, it’s important for you to know and understand what the ratings mean on the video games your children play. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is an industry organization that has developed a rating system for computer, Internet and video games. ERSB rates games from those appropriate for children to those that are only appropriate for adults. The differences between video games is distinct so it is important for parents to be involved in the process and not let their kids purchase any game that they want.

Think of it as similar to how movies are rated. If a kid goes to a theater and asks for a ticket to see a R-rated movie, he is going to get carded. Shopkeepers can do the same. If a kid comes in and tries to buy a game that is not appropriate for his age level, they can ask for identification as proof of age.

If you’ve ever seen a mature game or a game that is rated for adults only, you will know why this system is in place. The rating levels are as follows:

  • EC – Early Childhood
  • E – Everyone
  • E 10+ – Everyone over 10 years of age
  • T – Teens
  • M – Mature, anyone over 17 years of age
  • AO – Adults only
  • RP – not yet rated

For the most up to date list of content descriptors and definitions visit the ESRB Web site at: www.esrb.org

Most games fall between the E and the M. The main thing that changes is the violence and the language. In an E-rated game, you’ll see games like Super Mario Bros. Teen games involve more crashes and fighting like Marvel vs. Street Fighter. There will be blood as well.

Mature games are the ones your kids will try to sneak past you in the house. Here you will hear profanity, possible nudity, sexual references and violent killings. Most of the war games, some fantasy and assassination games fall into this category. FYI, if you don’t already know, Grand Theft Auto V is rated M. It’s brimming with gang violence, nudity, extremely coarse language, and drug and alcohol abuse.

As a parent, you should limit the bad influences on your children as much as you can. If you have to, offer to play video games with your kids to find out what their friends are bringing over. They will comply with the rules, if you explain clearly 🙂

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