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Goddard Cautions Parents to Check Video Game Ratings Before Buying

(Phoenix, Ariz. - Dec. 10, 2009) Attorney General Terry Goddard today urged parents and other shoppers to pay careful attention to the age and content ratings provided by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board when purchasing computer and video games as gifts this holiday season.

“It is very important that parents understand the content of the games they are purchasing,” said Goddard. “This way they will not accidentally expose inappropriate material to their children. Parents should use the ESRB rating system to ensure the games are appropriate for their children.”

ESRB ratings employ a two-part system.  As seen in the illustration below, rating symbols appear on the front of virtually every game’s packaging and provide an age recommendation, such as EC (Early Childhood 3+), E (Everyone 6+), E10+ (Everyone 10 and older), T (Teen 13+), M (Mature 17+) and AO (Adults Only 18+). On the back of the package, next to the rating, are content descriptors, which are short words and phrases that provide information about what’s in the game that may have led to the rating or may be of interest or concern to parents. 

All game rating information as well as rating summaries can be found by searching for titles on the ESRB’s Web site. www.esrb.org , as well as via a mobile Web site at m.esrb.org that enables parents to look up rating summaries right from the store aisle when they are unsure whether a particular game is right for their child.