Are you a parent wondering about the content of the video and internet games your child is playing? Did you know there's a rating system?

We asked the Federal Trade Commission to help spell it out for us.


We know: Video and Internet Game Rating Systems

How do I know which video games are appropriate for my child?

Look for age-based ratings on the front of video game packages and in ads. Here are the ratings and what they stand for:

  • EC - Early Childhood - Content suitable for children age 3 and older.
  • E - Everyone - Content suitable for children 6 and older; game may contain minimal violence, comic mischief or some crude language.
  • T - Teen - Content suitable for those 13 and older. Game may contain violent content, mild or strong language and suggestive themes.
  • M - Mature - Content suitable for those 17 and older. Game may include more intense violence or language than products rated T and may include mature sexual themes.
  • AO - Adults Only - Content suitable for adults only. Game may include graphic depictions of sex and/or violence. Products rated AO are not intended to be sold or rented to anyone under the age of 18.

Is there any other information that can help me?

The Entertainment Software Rating Board assigns content descriptions to video games. You can find them on the back of the package. Here are some samples:

  • Mild Animated Violence
  • Animated Blood
  • Mild Realistic Violence
  • Realistic Blood
  • Animated Violence
  • Animated Blood and Gore
  • Realistic Violence
  • Realistic Blood and Gore

How can I know about the content of online video games my child plays on the internet?

The Entertainment Software Rating Board Interactive (ESRBI) provides age-based ratings for interactive web sites. These ratings appear on a site's homepage if the entire site is rated; on the first page of the rated section if that is the only section that is rated; or where a game is accessed if that is the only part of a site that is rated. The ESRBI ratings are:

  • ECI Early Childhood Interactive Content suitable for children age 3 and older.
  • E Everyone Interactive Content suitable for children 6 and older.
  • TI Teen Interactive Content suitable for ages 13 and older.
  • MI Mature Interactive Content suitable for ages 17 and older.
  • AOI Adults Only Interactive Content suitable for adults only.

What else can I learn about the content of online video games?

The ESRBI provides content descriptors for online games and interactive sites that signal violence, nudity, sexual themes, strong language and the use of alcohol, drugs or tobacco. Some descriptions you might see are:

  • Mild Violence
  • Violence
  • Graphic Violence
  • Strong Hate Speech
  • Weapon Making
  • Suicide


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