ESRB releases new PSA to help parents understand video game ratings

6mCM8RmLet’s get something straight. Laws don’t change behavior. Only society can change behavior.

We have laws against texting while driving, and while cops can write citations for things like Google Glass (which seems counter-productive), people will still do dumb things like watch movies on their tablets while operating motor vehicles. As a society we need to make behaviors unfashionable. We’ve made smoking in public areas unfashionable. We’ve made drunk driving extremely unfashionable.

There are laws which prevent retailers from selling adult media to minors, but it’s still up to parents to police what their children consume. Keeping parents engaged and informed is critical to this conversation, no small task in light of the overwhelming amount of media to be aware of.

We need to get over the stigma that “vidya gamez ar fer kidz”. The average age of a gamer is 30, and it’s likely that almost as many people over the age of 30 play games as under the age of 30. The medium has grown up with the Atari generation, and now the content produced reflects far more mature tastes than many non-gamers might expect. As with feature films and TV, the Entertainment Software Rating Board publishes ratings that parents can use a starting point in making decisions on what titles they might purchase for their children.

This short PSA is a good starting point for people wanting more info on what those ratings mean.

And I don’t mean for this to be a condemnation of parents who might decide their child is mature enough to handle a game’s content. What we need to move towards as a community, to protect our properties from external censorship, is encouraging more informed discussion on content. Helping parents find tools which easily inform their purchasing decisions. Helping them to become a  more active part of their child’s video gaming experience.

As I’m sure that games and consoles will be hot gifts this holiday season, let’s make sure we’re shopping smart. For more info please check out: http://www.esrb.org/

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