Codey To Parents: Check The Ratings Before You Stuff The Stockings

Senate President Urges Parents to Consult Electronic Ratings to Make Sure Video and Computer Games are Appropriate Gifts for Children

TRENTON – With the holiday season in full swing, Senate President Richard J. Codey (D-Essex) today urged parents and other consumers to check the ratings on all computer and video game packages to make sure they are age- and content-appropriate before purchasing them for children. At a time when more than 50 percent of annual computer and video game purchases are made, Codey sympathized with parents overwhelmed by the deluge of electronic games and urged them to consult a more knowing source – the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

“Parents shouldn’t worry about being a Grinch – there’s plenty of options out there for everyone when it comes to selecting video games for your kids. Having raised two boys, I know how obsessive kids can be about video games, especially around the holiday season,” said Sen. Codey. “The easiest thing to do is consult the ratings before purchasing anything this season.”

The ESRB designs ratings to provide information about computer and video game content so consumers can make informed purchase decisions. ESRB ratings have two parts: rating symbols suggest age appropriateness for the game, and content descriptors indicate elements in a game that may have triggered a particular rating and may be of concern. Codey emphasized that the overwhelming majority of games sold last year were rated either “E” for everyone or “T” for teen.”

“I know it’s hard to keep an eye on everything kids are doing in their free time,” said Sen. Codey. “But when it comes to electronic games, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. The ratings are a great way to know what’s appropriate for your kids.”

ESRB age-appropriate ratings range from Early Childhood to Adults Only. Parents can also make their own determination if a game is right for their child by referring to the 30 different content descriptors, which include alcohol references, blood and gore, drug references, violence, strong language and sexual content.

The ESRB is a non-profit, self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the ESA (Entertainment Software Association). ESRB independently applies and enforces ratings, advertising guidelines, and online privacy principles adopted by the industry. The ESA is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet.

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