All children play, including on the computer and phone. In itself, this is normal, but the games can be different. Not for nothing on the disc boxes and online stores indicate age restrictions for some of them. Do I need to beat the alarm, for example, if your ten-year-old child is carried away by Fortnite with a rating of 12 +? Let’s find out who and how determines the age at which you can play this or that game, and how strict these requirements are.
Who sets the age limits for games
There are about a couple dozen age classifications for games in the world. For example, most of Europe is subject to the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) standard, while in the USA, Canada and Mexico Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is responsible for the ratings.
Russia, Germany, Australia and some other countries have their own age restriction systems. And in Japan there are two of them – Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO) and Ethics Organization of Computer Software (EOCS).
The App Store also uses its own classification. And Google Play supports the standards of some regions, but in most countries, including Russia, gives the game ratings developed by the international agency International Age Rating Coalition (IARC).
Simply put, there are a lot of different age ratings for games, and which of them to focus on is not a trivial question. A little later we will return to it, but first let’s look at what age categories are and how they should be understood.
How to understand the age limits of games
Most systems use numerical designations – in fact, the box shows the minimum recommended age. However, numbers are not always worth interpreting literally. For example, the age rating PEGI 3 is about the same as the Russian 0+. On the other hand, systems like ESRB instead of numbers use descriptions: E – Everyone (for all), T – Teen (for teenagers) and so on, but each description corresponds to a certain age.
Anyway, the main task of all these restrictions is to inform the buyer that the game may contain abnormal vocabulary, violence scenes and other unwanted content.To facilitate your choice, in many rating systems in addition to the actual age restrictions indicate what the game got it for.
If in some regions the ratings are of recommendatory character, in other regions the attitude to age restrictions may be stricter. In particular, in many countries it is legally prohibited to sell games rated 18+ to minors.
Why the age limits in different rating systems do not coincide
It should be borne in mind that unwanted content is treated differently in different countries. It is to blame for the presence of bonuses for drug use. As a result, in order to get a pass to Australian shops, the developers have corrected the game around the world.
At the same time, Death Stranding Hideo Kojima, in the Australian authorities’ opinion, was immediately suitable for teenagers from 15 years old, and in New Zealand, they are sure that it can be played at 13. At the same time, both countries noted that the game has a brutal and rough turns. But there are no drugs in it at all.
Sims 4 game in its time in different regions received diametrically opposed age restrictions – from one of the softest categories 6+ to the hardest 18+. While most rating systems agreed that it is suitable for teenagers, in Russia it was rated as an adult.
This happened because of the fact that in Sims you can create same-sex couples and quarrel with relatives. But in Germany, on the contrary, they allow playing Sims from a young age: there is no realistic violence, which in this country is one of the main reasons for raising the age rating.
Play Ratings for Children
With games for the little ones, too, not always everything is clear. For example, the colourful ESRB games Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are suitable for children of all ages, even though they contain elements of cartoon abuse. In Russia and Europe, they believe that it is not necessary for kids to play it: the classification of PEGI, it has a rating of 7, and the domestic system – 6 +.
How to choose a game for your child
As you can see, the opinions of rating organizations about the age at which you can play this or that game are not always unanimous. This means that you should not refuse a child in the game just because it has not yet reached the age specified on the box or in the description of the application. It is better to make up your own opinion about it.
Pay attention not only to the age limit – ask what exactly is the reason for giving it away. If you live in a country where the notes about the content of the game on the cover and the description does not make, look for information on the Internet. Find out what the game is about – it will help you decide.
Compare the rating in your country with the foreign ones. So the picture will be more complete. However, it is worth remembering that some elements, such as obscene expressions, may disappear from the game when translated.
If time allows, watch the game trailer – it is usually available on YouTube or the developer’s website. Read a few reviews or even watch them – game video bloggers are now available on any social network. Usually it is enough to get an idea about the game.
Once you have selected and bought a game for your child, try playing it together. Learn the rules, discuss the schedule, story, dialogues. Keep your child company in the game online.
This will allow you to not only make sure that the choice is correct, but also to maintain a trusting relationship with your child. And that he did not play all day, use the means of parental control. With these tools, you can limit the time that your child devotes to the game.