ESRB Offers Helpful Tips for Parents Buying Video Games This Holiday Season

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As Video Games Top Holiday Wish Lists, Video Game Rating Group Provides Ratings, Free Mobile App and Resources to Guide Parents

ESRB offers helpful advice for parents when buying a game or introducing a game system to their family this holiday season.

Whether it’s a new video game system or the latest ‘must-have’ video game, interactive entertainment tops holiday wish lists again this year. But for many parents, it’s not always easy to determine which game is the right one for their child. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the organization that rates all video games, offers helpful advice for parents when buying a game or introducing a game system to their family this holiday season.

  • Check the rating: Just like movies and TV shows, some games are meant for children and others are really intended for adults to play. From ‘E for Everyone’ to ‘M for Mature,’ ratings and content descriptors appear on nearly all video and computer games sold in the U.S. and Canada and are an easy guide to gauge age-appropriateness.
  • Get the detailed facts: For parents who want more specific information, ratings summaries provide a detailed description of content that factored into a game’s rating, including examples. These can be found on the ESRB website or via their free mobile app, which is available for iPhone, Android and Windows phones. By simply taking a picture of the game box or typing or saying the name of game parents can look up ratings summaries and have the information they need to make a truly informed decision about a game’s suitability for their child.
  • Refer to the experts: Video game store associates (who are often gamers themselves) and other parents can be valuable resources for guidance about a game, and game review websites often have photos and videos to help a parent get acquainted with game content. There is also a Parent Resource section on with additional tips and resources for parents.
  • Activate parental controls: Game consoles offer parental control features that allow parents to restrict games by ESRB rating, manage online access, and even limit how much time a child can use the system. Follow these instructions for your system to help you manage your children’s video game play.
  • Protect kids’ privacy: Because online-enabled games can allow players to speak with one another, kids should know that they shouldn’t share personal information with others, even people they think they can trust. And that’s not limited to e-mail addresses and phone numbers, either; kids should know not to share personal details like where they go to school, where their parents work or what their weekend plans are.
  • Be vigilant about cyberbullies: Cyberbullying is a growing concern as more and more kids go online, and just like on a real playground there can be the occasional bully in the game world as well. Talk to your kids about their online gameplay and make sure they know who to turn to if they encounter a bully, online or off. And do everyone a favor by reporting misbehavers to a game publisher or its online community moderator.

For more information about the ESRB and video game buying tips, visit, ESRB’s Facebook page, follow ESRB on Twitter (@OKtoPlay) or view video tips on YouTube.

About Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB):

The ESRB is a non-profit, self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). ESRB independently assigns computer and video game content ratings, enforces advertising guidelines, and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices for the interactive entertainment software industry.


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Beth Llewelyn

Perrin Kaplan
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