SEPTEMBER WINNERS

Tiffany C., Harrison, NY

My tip is to always discuss whether the game is appropriate for their age level and have rules set in place, like not revealing their identity online before gaming. We love to check the ESRB rating together and Mom and dad get some to try out the game too!

Mark J., Bountiful, UT

I’ve had several conversations with Cole about games that he wants to download, and I usually let him if the rating isn’t M. Even when it’s T we talk about the content and reason for the rating, how much blood and violence, how much nudity and sex, if any. He usually tells me there’s not any but when I show him that there is, he tries to tell me that he can keep the levels low in the options. But that isn’t usually an acceptable solution. For Grand Theft Auto I said no way. He said his friends all have it and that it’s just cars. I showed him in the age rating detail that it includes gambling, all kinds of violence, nudity, sex, drugs, and so on, and that was valuable information!

Connie S., Norfolk, VA

We have raised children, grandchildren, and are now assisting with great-grandchildren. We talk to the kids about the game ratings and whether they think the game is appropriate for them, given the genre and their age/interests. We then make decisions together regarding games. If there is no agreement, another adult is added to the discussion (never another child).

Rogers, Prescott, AZ

I think ratings are important since they let parents and kids know about the content present in the games they're buying. Overall, I believe ratings were a great addition to the entertainment industry.

Jen S., Philadelphia, PA

It’s important to not just read the ratings yourself, but to talk to your kids about the ratings and the games they play.

Chancey B., Chambersburg, PA

DAD’S GAMES FOR ADULTS AND DAD’S MADDEN TO PLAY WITH ZAIDY As a young adult myself these were just ratings, but becoming a mom, these now are like golden keys to what I or my boyfriend buys. Even if my children don't play the game, I now am very interested in the rating given. Being a mom is tough at times, but simple things, from before, become extremely important to me now. Can't express my true gratitude to making being a mom just that much easier.

Jill C., Cambridge, MA

My Son DEREK got a DS for his birthday on September 3rd. When he opened the system I explained how we could pick games with a specific rating. He was so excited some games were made for his likes and mine as well!

Holly S., Atlanta, GA

I’m an avid gamer, and I love to share my favorite hobby with my young siblings. I especially love games that we can play together, even though we don’t live in the same state! However, I know that not all games are right for every player, and even games rated E for Everyone aren’t necessarily a good fit for some kids. You really have to take their individual development and maturity into consideration. For my nieces and nephews, that means really communicating about the games we play… and those we don’t. Surprisingly, the kids are really good at talking through which games are okay for them, and which games are something they should wait to play. It’s a two-way conversation, beginning with the ESRB rating; but kids can really understand more than most people give them credit for. For instance, the youngest kids in my family have all heard of a certain death-match, battle-royale game that some of their older friends are playing. My nephew mentioned the game, and my niece said, “We don’t want to play that game, yet, because it’s rated T, and it has some real-looking violence. We only like cartoon violence.” She was practically quoting ESRB logos. This level of communication only happens because we discuss games as a family. We look at ratings, an adult watches the trailer and some game footage, and then we talk about the game with our kids. Choosing what games to get, starting with the ESRB, is part of the fun now. Another important tactic is using parental controls. I’ve become the expert in my extended family. Because we’re good at judging the appropriateness of a title within our family, it doesn’t mean a school friend won’t show up with a rated M game. With parental controls, our limits are in place, even if we aren’t on the couch beside our kids. My final strategy is to discuss safety and courtesy in any online play. My kids are younger, so they usually can’t go into open worlds where people can say whatever they want to them. However, even with that prohibition, we’ve already discussed with them what online communities can be like and how to respond to negativity. I believe it’s a caretaker’s responsibility to understand that online play isn’t necessarily covered in the ESRB rating, and so parents need to filter game and online messaging based on their children’s maturity. Gaming is about trust. With the ESRB system, I genuinely feel like I have a trustworthy partner helping me responsibly introduce the kids in my life to new games.

Jennifer K., Sarasota, FL

With so many kids in our big family we each have parent controls on each console in each Household. My child’s console is set at Kids "E". She isn't allowed to chat or talk to anyone. If anyone asks to be added as a friend I have to ok. The next Household has their consoles set at everyone and kid. Once every 4 months all the guys of all ages come over and play every game on 5 different consoles and have a guy day. Good Junk Food and Gaming. Playing FIFA, NBA 2018, Mario Kart, Grand Theft Auto, etc...

Adrian K., Beaver Dam, WI

I use ratings to choose games to rent so I can review them before my son plays.