Media Management for Children...It's time.
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How the Entertainment Software Rating Board Derives its Video Game Ratings

Video game ratingsA 2007 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that 91 percent of parents surveyed found the video game ratings issued by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) "very" useful or "somewhat" useful. Anyone who has purchased a video game in the United States or Canada in the past decade - or anyone who's merely seen a video game commercial - is probably familiar with the video games rating disclaimer provided by the ESRB. These are the abbreviations, such as E (for everyone), T (for teen) and M (for mature) found on video game packaging and designed to help parents determine whether the content of a particular game is appropriate for their child.

Although similar to movie ratings such as PG, PG-13 and others, video game ratings are derived differently and are submitted to by game publishers only on a voluntary basis. There is no law or regulation that says a video game must comply with decency standards, but most game publishers and game retailers choose to comply with the ESRB ratings system. A game receives its rating toward the end of its development, usually before it is released to the public.

More than 1,000 games per year are rated, and the process is thorough:

• The game publisher submits an ESRB questionnaire describing pertinent content, such as adult language, violence, sex, gambling and drug or alcohol use

• The ESRB also receives a DVD depicting routine game play, along with the most extreme examples of pertinent content found in the game

• Occasionally, ESRB staffers will confirm content by playing beta versions of the game

• Three trained ESRB game raters review the DVD separately and recommend their video game ratings to the ESRB staff

• The ESRB issues its rating to the publisher and compiles a rating summary explaining key factors in the decision

While video game ratings are a useful tool for parents, it's just as important to limit the amount of time a child spends zoned in on a video game console each day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids age 2-18 spend no more than 14 hours per week exposed to electronic entertainment like TV, video games and the Internet. Most kids spend nearly three times that long each week involved in electronic entertainment of some sort.

The Mikko Que is here to help parents exert control over their kids' screen time and potentially avoid serious issues such as video game addiction. Contact Mikko USA to learn more.

Media Management for Children ... It's time.

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