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The ESRB Ratings and What They Mean

    You may have heard of all the fuss around the country about how violent or sexually explicit video games are reaching the nation's children.  Many people (and members of congress) put the responsibility of the situation off on the video game industry, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), and its ratings system, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).  No matter what steps these organizations can take to prevent such material from reaching the children, they will all be ineffective if YOU, the parent are not informed of two things:

  1. The game's content

  2. The game's rating (which reflects the game's content)

    I have designed this website in the hopes that I may inform parents of the ESRB's ratings system.  The first step is to know the ratings, which are as follows:

  1. EC (Early Childhood)

  2. E (Everyone)

  3. E10+* (Everyone 10 and older)

  4. T (Teen)

  5. M (Mature)

  6. AO** (Adults Only)

  7. RP (Rating Pending - Usually appears in an advertisement before the game is released.)

The next step is to learn what each of these ratings means.  Click on the name of each rating to learn more about what it means.  I hope this has been or will be a helpful resource for you as you decide which games are right for your children.  And remember, only YOU, the parent, can truly decide what those games are.

*This rating was only added in 2005 at the request of parents who felt a rating between "Everyone" and "Teen" was necessary.

**Most retailers do NOT display such games in their store.  In fact, even if they did, they certainly would not sell a game under this category to a minor.

For more information, please visit these informative websites:

  1. Entertainment Software Association

  2. Entertainment Software Rating Board

  3. The Video Game Voters Network

This site is meant as a means for parents to learn more about the ESRB ratings, and only as a means for parents to learn more about the ESRB ratings.  If you still have more questions after reading this site, I refer you to the above websites.  Although each game has content descriptors, there are 32 of them and I do not feel like listing them all individually on this site.  However, I'm positive at least one of the aforementioned websites lists them all in detail.  Thank you for taking the time to learn about the games instead of prosecuting them, and you are welcome for the information.  This is not a publication of the ESRB. :)

Read my Senior Project: Video Game Violence and Self-Regulation.