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 symbols on the front of a game's box and the content description on the back can give you a good idea about the overall content.

Look Beyond the Ratings - While the ratings provide you a powerful tool to monitor a game's content, our team members at GameStop and EB Games 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 and EB Games websites.

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 - Online games enable users to play against strangers and with multiple people in massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs). Some games allow users to change 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 warning on the package: "Game Experience May Change During Online Play."

Be Aware of Downloads - The content of most PC games can be changed through downloadable programs - "mods, packets, or point releases" - found on the Internet. Because users can alter a game's content after it is purchased, this subject matter isn't used to determine the ESRB ratings.

Use Parental Controls - Some of the newer video game consoles and handheld devices - Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, and PSP - include built-in parental controls. This feature limits your kids to playing only the games with the ratings and content you determine appropriate.

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 also provide tips and information on ways to ensure each childŐs 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 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
Parent's Choice
iParenting Media Awards
Grading the Movies, Music and Games
Edutaining Kids

Ratings, Reviews and More

EB Games
Computer and Video Games
Game Revolution

Online Safety
Security in the Online Game World


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

Popular Gaming Platforms


Back to Top

Copyright 2006 ESRB. Copyright GameStop, Inc. All rights reserved