Respect the Ratings



In today's ever-expanding world of dynamic, interactive entertainment, knowing which games are right for children can be a little overwhelming. That's why GameStop and EB Games have partnered with the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to provide you the tools you need to make informed decisions. While the ESRB rating system is one of the best ways to evaluate games, there are also many other valuable tools to encourage responsible gaming.

Tips for Parents and Caregivers | Starting the Conversation | Helpful Links




Check Ratings and Descriptors - Both the rating category on the front of a game's box and the content descriptors on the back can give you a good idea about the overall content and if the game is appropriate.

Look for Interactive Elements Ė The In-Game Purchases and/or Users Interact interactive elements appear below the ESRB rating and content descriptor on the back of a game box. For games downloaded directly to a console and other game devices, interactive elements appear with the rating and content descriptors on the game item page prior to downloading.

Look Beyond the Ratings - While the ratings provide you a powerful tool to monitor a game's content, our team members at GameStop can also help answer your questions. You can further evaluate a game by reading reviews and checking out the previews, images, and demos found on the GameStop website.

Consider Each Child - Each child has a unique personality and abilities. Use that knowledge to help determine which games are appropriate.

Monitor and Play Along - As with any movie or TV show, you want to know what's safe for children to see. Taking an interest in the types of games kids are playing - and playing along with them - is one of the best ways to monitor a game's content. You can have fun together while you get to know what the child enjoys about a particular game.

Use Caution with Online-Enabled Games - Many online-enabled games allow users to play with and/or against strangers. Some games allow users to change or create content themselves. For example, online players could alter the character models ("skins") and settings ("maps") or introduce weapons and live chatting. To check whether a game is online-enabled, look for the Users Interact interactive element on the back of the game package or on the game item page in digital marketplaces prior to downloading a game directly to a console or other gaming device.

Be Aware of Downloads - Many video games can be changed or expanded through additional downloadable content, also known as "DLC". Typically this content comes directly from the publisher of a game, but in some cases users can alter a game's content through homemade modifications, or "mods". ESRB rating information includes DLC coming from the publisher of a game, but does not reflect mods and other user generated content.

Use Parental Controls - Video game consoles and handheld devices provide settings that can be activated to help manage what and how your kids play. Depending on the device, you can also manage how much time is spent playing and limit how much is spent on in-game purchases. The controls are PIN-protected so once you set them, be sure that you donít share your password with your kids or they will be able to undo the settings you put in place.

Talk with Others - Other parents, adults, and kids can be a great resource to find out about today's video games. Web sites such as Common Sense Media and StaySafe.org also provide tips and information on ways to ensure each child's gaming experience is fun and safe.

Take Breaks - Time can pass quickly when children are playing video games. That's why it's helpful to set parental controls, encourage breaks, as stepping away at regular intervals can give young minds, hands, and eyes a rest.



As with other important issues in children's lives, talking with them about the games they play (or want to play) can help you both understand what's appropriate. To help you establish these ground rules, we've developed a downloadable, Safe Gaming Score Card, that you can use to find common ground on proper games, content, and habits.

Set the Score
To help parents and concerned adults negotiate appropriate content and behavior while playing video games, we've created a downloadable Safe Gaming Score Card. (Note: Requires Adobe PDF Reader)



Here are some useful online resources with information and ideas that can help adults ensure that children enjoy fun and safe gaming.


Family-Friendly Information

Children's Technology Reviews
National PTA
Common Sense Media
GamerDad
SuperKids
Parent's Choice
Edutaining Kids


Ratings, Reviews and More

GameStop
Games Radar
GameRankings
Game Revolution
GameSpot
GameSpy
IGN


Online Safety

StaySafe.org
WiredSafety
Security in the Online Game World


Organizations

Entertainment Software Rating Board
Entertainment Software Association
Common Sense Media
Parent Teacher Association


Popular Gaming Platforms

Xbox
Nintendo
PlayStation


Back to Top


© Entertainment Software Association and GameStop, Inc. All rights reserved. The ESRB rating icons are registered trademarks of the Entertainment Software Association.