ESA launching national game ratings education campaign

Entertainment Software Association backing public education campaign to further inform American parents on game ratings.

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The Entertainment Software Association today announced a new national public education campaign aimed at further informing American parents about game ratings.

The focus of the new campaign will be a string of public service announcements that call on parents to familiarize themselves with the Entertainment Software Rating Board rating system. The PSAs will also encourage them to make use of existing console parental control options.

"No one knows better than parents when it comes to making decisions about which games their children should and should not play," said US Senator John Thune (R-SD) in a statement. "The video game industry makes games for people of all ages, but that doesn't mean all games are appropriate for everyone."

As part of the new education initiative, the ESA will work with game retailers to use their physical stores and online presence to educate customers about ESRB ratings. In addition, the group said it will team with lawmakers to extend the ESRB ratings system to games for smartphone, tablets, and social games.

The program also has the support of US representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).

"I commend the video game industry for recognizing the importance of educating and engaging parents about the ratings and other resources and for leading a national program that will ensure the decision-making power remains where it should be--with parents," she said in a statement.

Video games have been a much-discussed topic in the wake of the December schoolhouse massacre in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead. The topic has been debated at the state, federal, and even executive level.

President Barack Obama has directed the Centers for Disease Control to conduct further studies on the relationship between virtual violence and real-world violence.

In addition, vice president Joe Biden met with various members of the gaming industry in January to discuss the link between violent video games and gun violence as part of a wider task force looking into gun control measures.

Discussion

88 comments
McDog3
McDog3

Its about time they launch a campaign like this.  For whatever reason, most parents do NOT understand the ratings system and some, believe it or not, do not even know it exists.  Once enough people are educated, games will no longer be such the large-scale scapegoat it is right now (because currently the majority believe they have no control over what games their children get to play).  


Also, its good to finally hear a member of Congress promote leaving this issue in the hands of parents, where it should actually be.

TirOrah
TirOrah

I find it pretty strange that parents even need to be educated about this. I mean, it's not wildly different from the ratings on TV shows and movies... At least where I live. I'm happy about this news though, maybe now more people will realize that there is an actual system in place. 

Now all these parents need to do is actually do the right thing with and stop their kids from playing games they're not old enough for. -_-

franzito
franzito

This wouldn't be necessary if parents simply refuse to give their kids violent or innapropriate games and let they have a gaming childhood of Sonic and Mario like many of us had in the past, most suitable games for children I guess.
After Sandy Hook it's like games are "the evil" now and they need to be exorcised or something. If for every fatality I executed in MK in my 13, 14's I'd become a violent guy, I'd be like a serial killer by now...

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

like the rating in the box isnt enough for adults to read....i swear the world is getting stupider each day. like m for mature means its okay for a 10 year old....

thereal-15-cent
thereal-15-cent

Yeah, because it's so hard to read the ratings on the back of the box.

GothikaGeist
GothikaGeist

Educate the dumbass lazy parents? If it means videogames can FINALLY evolve as a medium with more mature themes, like The Witcher Series, I'm all for it! Stick ESRB PSAs on every goddamn reality show if we have to!

zzamaro
zzamaro

Our money is wasted.

Zloth2
Zloth2

Well, the ratings seem pretty obvious to me.  They aren't front and center on the box but they are easier to find than the ingredients and people find those with no problem.  Plus there already seems to be a campaign on - I've seen a few informational advertisements in magazines starting well before the latest mass shooting.

Still, this effort might show a lot of people that there actually IS a system out there.  I get the feeling a lot of them don't know even that.

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

De ja vu all over again! I've already heard about "ratings" and how politics is going down. The guns after the Sandy Hook shooting is the real root of cause. Until they get to it, I want the NRA to act like a girl for a change.

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

most American parents just let there kids do as they wish and are lazy as hell hint xbox live and call of duty or halo pff 

Daian
Daian

I am ok with this, ignorant and neglectful parents piss me off, maybe this will help a little.

blaze_boy30
blaze_boy30

While I think it's a good idea, it a shame it has to come to this. I could easily pull up a wikipedia page to look at what the ratings mean or even go to the ESRB official website. Is it so hard for parents to do the research?

SingletreeAve
SingletreeAve

Rating systems also educate kids as to which games contain the explicit content they are looking for.  I remember back in the 80's when Tipper Gore started the PMRC to rate explicit content in music, in order to protect young punks like myself from the evils of heavy metal.  While shopping in music stores,I would think twice about buying anything that didn't have the PMRC explicit content warning, figuring it was probably lame since it met Tipper's approval.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

This is what they should have been doing instead of just trying to outright ban games.

Thunderstarter
Thunderstarter

Guys, there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to make parents more accountable by launching this campaign. This isn't going to hurt games. 

Seriously, calm down. In all of the other topics regarding video game violence I see a lot of people saying "Blame the parents who don't monitor what their kids are playing!" This campaign is more or less doing EXACTLY that by making them more accountable through education. 

commando1992
commando1992

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to READ THE RATING. Parents have no one to blame but themselves for not understanding exactly what sort of mature content comes in games, when it is clearly depicted on each and every game sold. 

jake44
jake44

What is there to educate exactly?  The rating system is pretty self-explanatory.

holtrocks
holtrocks

THIS SHOULD NOT BE A PRIORITY!!!!!!

mkdms14
mkdms14

Correct me if I am wrong but was it a gun that killed those people in Connecticut, or was it video games because I think people can't make up there minds who to blame?

Flint247
Flint247

The current ratings have enough detail on them for me to determine whether or not to buy a game for a child.

mischiefmeerkat
mischiefmeerkat

ohhh GOD this is so stupid it's infuriating!

  I thought america was supposed to be in such dire financial trouble that we can't even afford basic public services anymore. Now we're gonna spend millions of dollars on a campaign to teach people about game ratings and video game violence.

this is turning into the next "terrorism" buzzword. entire nationwide policies will revolve all around video games


video game violence in video games isn't even a problem. there are TENS OF MILLIONS of people that play CoD and other bloody shooting games. and they aren't out shooting people. sometimes you just get a crazy person

CptYoutube
CptYoutube

When parents buy, let's say Grand Theft Auto 4, for their kid, the store clerk is required to inform the parent what the rating on the back says. "Uh, mam, just so you are aware, the game does include strong violence, language, drug content, sexual content, and nudity." The common response that I always hear: "yeah, yeah that's fine." 

Growing up, I didn't play my first shooter till I was like 13 and it was medal of honor (the originial), which wasn't even bad. My parents just didn't want me around that kind of stuff till I was older and understood it was all just a game, not real life. Parents nowadays just buy the games and give it to their kids to shut them up. The parents of today have, essentially, a magic button, in the form of an xbox and games their kids shouldn't be playing, that they think is a solution. There is no point in trying to inform these people. They only hear what they want to hear. Simply as that. No point in wasting more money.

hunter8man
hunter8man

Didn't they do something similar to this a few years ago? I think most parents know about the ratings, they either don't care or just ignore them.

berserker66666
berserker66666

Here's a quick and dirty lesson to ESRB. E for Everyone, T for Teen, M for Mature, A for Adult and P for Pointless.

Yuusha09
Yuusha09

Another million dollar study to tell everyone that the sky is blue... 

Lowri001
Lowri001

If parents insist on giving their young kids consoles and video games, shouldn't they research it themselves? Not wasting tax payers money? Its not hard, just google it...

rookiesniper195
rookiesniper195

theres already a rating system in place it is as good as it can be and putting a rating on a i phone game wont help because it wont stop people from downloading it and all games downloaded can be viewed by the parent because they get emails , at least with apple


decoy1978
decoy1978

This is so stupid. A total waste of ESA money and possibly tax payer money when there is already a clear-cut rating system. Plastering a giant burning M with skulls will not deter a purchase if the parent does not know what it stands for. The current ratings already clearly states which games are meant for each age group. 

A name like MORTAL KOMBAT or Grand Theft Auto surely is meant for my 9yr old neice.... -_-

CDWJUSTIN
CDWJUSTIN

good way to spend $100 million dollars... NOT!!!

somebody337
somebody337

How did they even become parents if they dont even know how to flip the box and see if it's "M" for mature o_0

IllegallyAwesum
IllegallyAwesum

ESRB actually did this a few years back, but it was cartoony as all hell and published in kids magazines. Basically, every kid knows the system and how to get around it.

nathangray
nathangray

Yeah, bit of wasted money there. I think it's a good idea, but it would have been better served many years ago when the rating system first debuted. This isn't a new thing, it's old news. If parents haven't figured out the rating system by now, it's self-imposed ignorance. There's little anyone else can do about that.

chrisbingle
chrisbingle

This campaign is a waste of time and money and will change nothing. 

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

A lot of the parents that buy "innappropriate" games for thei children don't care about the ratings.

I think spreading the information is good. Not just for the parents, but for the kids who will be parents in 3-5 years. The parents have to want to be responsible in the first place, but having the information pounded into their minds coukd help improve the use of the system in the future.

Blue-N-Yellow
Blue-N-Yellow

I once heard a PSA reminding people to refrigerate their leftover food, so this is not surprising.

Just waiting for the inevitable one that reminds people how to breathe.

Solace427
Solace427

While this is a good idea and expanding the rating system to mobile and social gaming (which I am surprised didn't happen sooner) parents also need to pay attention more. This is no different than slapping ratings on movies and music. Games are no different in that sense.

I feel like because they are "games", parents choose to ignore and thus become ignorant because what could a game possibly have that's inappropriate for certain ages?!!? -.-

Diablo-B
Diablo-B

Sounds to me like ignorant and bad parenting. If a person doesn't understand the game ratings then they probably also dont understand the rating system for TV and movies since they are all very similar. I also wouldn't be surprised if those same parents dont know that there are parental controls on consoles.

Apastron
Apastron

@McDog3 They understand them; you'd have to be four shades of stupid not to.  They just plead 'ignorance' to justify their laziness.

MaverickHunter8
MaverickHunter8

@Daian We can only hope so because this B.S. debate about the connection between video games and violence is so friggin' old now.

GSJones1994
GSJones1994

@blaze_boy30 They don't want to understand the ESRB because they think it would be a waste of their time. I must say that this is ridculous too.

ZRavN
ZRavN

@jake44 Well you have to teach people how to count to at least 18 first. How are they supposed to understand that numbers exist in a linear hierarchy of valuation without the help of the ESA? I say, keep fighting the good fight ESA I would say it would take at least 100 million dollar budget to teach all those parents out there how to count to 18 so they know how to reads the warning label correctly. 

soulless4now
soulless4now

@Flint247 The only thing that would make parents more likely to read the game cover is if the rating was made bigger and it was colorful since they don't seem to pay attention. 

GSJones1994
GSJones1994

@CptYoutube I didn't watch my first R-rated movie until I was 9, as my folks decided I was ready too. 

Cheezy200
Cheezy200

@decoy1978 did you read the article? 

"The focus of the new campaign will be a string of public service announcements that call on parents to familiarize themselves with the Entertainment Software Ratings Board rating system."

the point is to educate parents of what the ESRB rating is. Not add a new rating system aside to games that don't have a rating system.  And contrary to what you think. a lot of parents don't even know about it. Look at the recent survey done about it.

soulless4now
soulless4now

@Diablo-B It isn't surprising at all. I sometimes wonder how many people actually read the instruction manuals that come with consoles. Those will tell them all they need to know.