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  • Writer's pictureCyberlite

A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Game Ratings and Content Filters




Video games have become a staple of entertainment and education for children and teens alike. However, not all games are suitable for every age group, presenting a challenge for parents trying to navigate the vast landscape of gaming content. Understanding game ratings and utilising content filters are essential tools in ensuring that children are exposed to age-appropriate material. This article serves as a guide for parents seeking to navigate the world of video game ratings and content filters, ensuring a safe and positive gaming experience for their children.


The Importance of Game Ratings and Content Filters

Game ratings are designed to provide parents and guardians with a clear indication of the suitability of a game's content for different age groups. These ratings are determined by organisations that evaluate the game's themes, language, violence, sexual content, and use of substances. The content ratings for video games and other digital content vary by country, each using its system to classify content based on age appropriateness, content type, and suitability. Here is a guide for selected countries: 


United States

ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board): Rates video games and apps. The ratings include EC (Early Childhood), E (Everyone), E10+ (Everyone 10 and older), T (Teen), M (Mature 17+), and AO (Adults Only 18+). 

Learn more: https://www.esrb.org/ 


Europe and United Kingdom

PEGI (Pan European Game Information): Used across much of Europe, including the UK, with ratings of 3, 7, 12, 16, and 18, indicating the age suitability of the game. 


BBFC (British Board of Film Classification): Also rates films, DVDs, and some video games not covered by PEGI, using U, PG, 12, 15, 18, and R18. 


Singapore

IMDA (Infocomm Media Development Authority): Classifies games into ratings such as G (General), PG (Parental Guidance), PG13 (Parental Guidance 13), NC16 (No Children under 16), M18 (Mature 18), and R21 (Restricted 21).


South Korea

GRAC (Game Rating and Administration Committee): Previously known as the Game Rating Board (GRB), it rates video games. The ratings include All, 12, 15, 18, and Rating Refused (banned games).


Leveraging Content Filters

Beyond understanding ratings, modern gaming consoles and platforms offer content filters that allow parents to manage the games their children can access. These filters can restrict games based on their ratings, limit online interactions, and even set time limits on gameplay.


Setting Up Content Filters

  • Consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch): Each major console brand provides parental control settings that can be accessed through their dashboard. These settings allow you to restrict game access based on ratings, set screen time limits, and monitor online interactions.

  • PC Gaming (Steam, Epic Games Store): PC gaming platforms also offer parental controls. For example, Steam's Family View allows you to restrict access to certain games, features, and content based on your preferences.

  • Mobile Devices: For games on tablets and smartphones, parental control apps can limit app purchases, downloads, and access to games based on ratings.


Find our curated list of parental controls and settings for popular websites, apps, games, and devices here: https://www.cyberlite.org/parentalcontrols  


Conclusion

Navigating the world of video games as a parent can seem daunting, but understanding game ratings and effectively using content filters can significantly ease the process. By taking an active role in selecting and monitoring games, parents can ensure that their children enjoy gaming experiences that are not only fun but also appropriate for their age and maturity level. Remember, the goal is not to restrict but to guide and protect, ensuring that gaming remains a positive part of your child’s life.

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