I have been looking through the new games that are coming out for upcoming Holiday Season, and it still intrigues me that almost all of the games that are being promoted this season are rated M for maturity or T for teen.  I read the new Batman video game, and it says that it is rated T for teen due to tobacco use, alcohol use, mature themes, violence and more.  I am just wondering how many parents really understand the rating system for video games, because obviously the video game industry is banking on the fact that we don’t understand, and are just disregarding the system entirely.

Early Childhood (EC): Early Childhood rated games have content that may be suitable for persons ages 3 and older. Titles in this category contain no material that parents would find inappropriate.

Everyone (E): Everyone rated games have content that may be suitable for persons ages six and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal violence and some comic mischief and/or mild language.
icon_e10plusEVERYONE 10+ (E10+): Titles rated E10+ have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language, and/or minimal suggestive themes.
Teen (T): Teen rated games have content that may be suitable for persons ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violent content, mild or strong language, and/or suggestive themes.
undefinedMature (M): Mature rated games have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain mature sexual themes, more intense violence and/or strong language.
undefinedAdults Only (AO): Adults Only rated games have content suitable only for adults. Titles in this category may include graphic depictions of sex and/or violence. Adults Only products are not intended for persons under the age of 18.
Rating Pending: Used only for advertising and/or marketing materials created for titles that have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting a final rating.
Content Descriptor: Over 30 standardized phrases that indicate content that triggered a particular rating and may be of interest or concern, so it is different on each and every game, so make sure you read the entire label, not just the letter rating.  For example, one video game for T could have tobacco use, and a completely different one marked T has alcohol use, and no tobacco use.  These are just ways to make it harder for the consumer to understand.  The over-all feeling is that you need to play the game in it’s entirety before you can make an educated decision in regards to your child. That is fine and all, but as a parent, I have more pressing things on my schedule than sitting down and playing an entire game of Grand Theft Auto.  I just wish that the video game industry would take after the movie industry and make everything uniform and concise so that we don’t have to look so hard to find out what is in each game.  I hope that this has helped some parents understand the rating system better.

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