Video Game Ratings and What They Mean

by Barbara J. Feldman on February 28, 2010

Kids love video games, and as a parent, it can be difficult to know what games are going to be appropriate for your child to play. Like movies, video games have ratings. However, the ratings are not as well known as those used for movies. Thus, as a parent it is your responsibility to learn the ratings, what they mean, and which are the most suitable for your child.

Here is a tool to look up ratings on specific games. An explanation of the ratings follows below the tool.

The following is a look at the video game rating system used, and what it means:
EC or EARLY CHILDHOOD
Any video game given this rating means that it has content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. In other words, it is meant to be a game that can be played by anyone as far as content is concerned. It should not contain any material that parents find inappropriate. So, when in doubt, choose a video game that has this rating.

E or EVERYONE
A video game that has this rating is said to be suitable for the ages of six and older. The content in these video games are likely to have some sort of cartoon, fantasy, or some kind of mild violence that may be inappropriate for younger kids. It may also have some mild language. If it does, the use will be fairly infrequent. In most cases, these video games are going to be considered suitable for the age, as the child will not be exposed to anything that they have not seen and heard already.

E10+ or EVERYONE 10+
You are sure to be getting the drift. Basically, a video game with this rating is going to have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. These games contain cartoons, fantasy, mild violence, mild language and minimal suggestive themes. Characters may mimic humans, and be dressed slightly inappropriately, etc. They are considered appropriate for over ten years of age.

T or TEEN
These are games that are suitable for teens. The idea is that it will be suitable for ages 13 and older. These games might have crude humor, some blood, simulated gaming (gambling), strong language (though infrequently used), violence, suggestive themes, etc. Some parents may not find these suitable for their teens, but the idea is that for teens in general these do not contain too strong of content.

M or MATURE
This video game rating is much like an R rating for a movie. It means that the game may have content is suitable for persons ages 17 and older. These games have strong violence, a great deal of blood and gore, and will likely have sexual content or strong language.

AO or ADULTS ONLY
Again, this is much like an R rating, only it is for age 18 and older, and has the same things as a M rated video, but in longer sequence, or prolonged scenes with violence, and sexuality or nudity.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Video Game Ratings and What They Mean." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 28 Feb. 2010. Web. 17 Sep. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1488/video-game-ratings-and-what-they-mean/ >.