There are hundreds of video games out there, from alternate reality games, to conquest and puzzle solving. So, how can you choose safe video games for your family? With so many choices, how do you know that the video games you are choosing are good for your family? Choosing age-appropriate, safe video games for your family is an extremely important step in preventing your family’s exposure to strong, graphic violence and mature themes. Knowing what to look for in safe video games and teaching your family to make wise choices is really important if you want to keep the violence and inappropriate media out of their heads. The following steps do not require much time, and they are an important factor in setting effective limits on the video games you allow your family to play:
1.Know what the Entertainment Safety Ratings Board (ESRB) ratings mean: The ESRB takes precautions to ensure you as a parent are aware of what kind of media you are buying. They have devised a rating system for video games, so take the time to teach your children about the ESRB symbols and what each rating means, and know them yourself.
The most common ratings are:
E for “everyone,” but really refers to children over the age of six
E-10 for everyone over the age of ten
T for to teens
M for to mature, for individuals seventeen and older
2.Read the ESRB rating assigned to each game: Just because there are ratings that say the game is for everyone, or that it is for teens does not make it safe by your standards. Look on the back of the game to find the ESRB rating symbol. In addition, you’ll find a small box listing examples of why the game was given that rating. For example, a game might be rated “T” for mild cartoon violence, or it might expose players to brief nudity. Once you see these things you can decide if those items are items you can handle. If you feel like with the rating, and the extra information the game is safe then go ahead and purchase it. But there are further things you can do as well.
3.Look up the game’s title on the ESRB website: If you are unsure about the game, take a step further and go online and read even more detailed information about the game’s rating. The more information you have, the more equipped you will be to make an informed decision about the game’s value and whether or not it is safe for your family. You can know that some games are given different ratings for different game systems, such as the same video game might be rated “E” on your child’s Gameboy system, but rated “T” on Playstation 2. So go online and learn about how the rating was received, and what the game contains, whether it is violence or not, etc. You can also use their website to see the Annual MediaWise Report on the best and worst video games. It helps you find the best quality, most educational, and least violent video games. There is a list, and the more you know about video games the easier it is to make wise choices about safe video games.
There are many other things you can do to choose safe video games for your family, such as read online evaluations, talk to your child about choosing things that are appropriate. Communicate and do your research and you will be able to find safe, appropriate video games for the members of your family, no matter what age they are.