A lot of Oklahoma children probably have video or computer games high on their Christmas lists. Making sure those games are appropriate for their ages can be a tough for parents.
That's why Attorney General Scott Pruitt joined the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to inform Oklahoma families about the video and computer game rating system. The tips are designed to help parents decide which games are best for their children and families.
"As a father, I know about the tough decisions parents face today regarding the media they allow into their homes," Attorney General Pruitt said. "Parents need and deserve all the help they can get and the ESRB ratings are an effective and informative resource that allows parents to decide if the video game their child wants to play is appropriate."
The ESRB video game ratings have two parts. Rating symbols on the front of every game package sold at retail stores provide an age recommendation. On the back, next to the rating, are content descriptors that provide information about what's in the game that may have triggered the rating or may be of interest or concern to parents.
"Just like movies and TV shows, video games are created for a diverse audience of all ages," ESRB president Patricia E. Vance said. "That is why it is so important that parents remember to check the rating when purchasing games for their children. We are very proud to have the support of Attorney General Pruitt in reaching out to Oklahoma's parents and educating them about the ratings."
Here are some tips when choosing an electronic game for children:
Check the Rating – Checking for a game's ESRB rating is a great place to start in terms of gauging the game's age-appropriateness.
Set Parental Controls – Controls are built into game consoles or handheld devices, which allows parents to restrict games by the rating. Some parental controls allow parents to decide when and for how long their child can play, and lets parents "mute" or disable the ability for their child to hear the game's online chat.
Be Involved – Parental involvement is the best tool parents have in managing and monitoring online safety. Stay involved, keep the computer or game system in a common area, so you can keep an eye and ear on the action, and talk with kids about what they're playing and whom they're playing with.
Don't Disclose – Make sure children know not to divulge personal or financial information about themselves or other family members when completing profiles, purchasing items or interacting with others online. Personal information includes home address, telephone number, school, names of friends, parents work location or their plans with locations.
Beware of Cyberbullies – Cyberbullying is a serious and growing problem, and can be just as real and hurtful as traditional bullying. Watch for warning signs that your child is the target of cyberbullying through online and interactive games.