When buying a game for your child, who do you turn to for advise on selecting an appropriate game? You might talk to a friend or family member who is familiar with the game. If that is not possible, I presume you would begin by looking at the games ESRB rating label such as E for Everyone and then read the games description on the box. If this sounds like you, your not alone. We often depend on the Entertainment Software Rating Board (www.esrb.org) to determine if a game is suitable for play or not, but do you know what you could be letting your kids play even with a rating such as E (everyone)? I have read over the determining content factors of the ESRB rating system and my findings were somewhat disturbing as to what type of content is let through the strainer of the ERSB "Everyone" rating.
Let me start out by sharing the ESRB definition of "Everyone". "Content may be suitable for persons ages 6 and older. May contain minimal violence and some comic mischief or crude language." This is posted right on the ESRB web site (www.esrb.org) if you would like to see it for yourself. According to the ESRB Rating Board, crude language may be suitable for your six-year-olds ears. Would you let your six-year-old listen to music or watch a television show or movie with crude or harsh language in it? Of course not, so why would you let them play a game with such content in it?
I also looked up the ESRB definition of "Comic Mischief", here?s what it is: "Contains scenes depicting activities characterized as slapstick or gross vulgar humor." Is this something you want your children to view, vulgar humor? I was unable to find the exact definition of "minimal violence", but the definition of "mild violence": "Scenes or activities which depict characters in unsafe and/or violent situations (i.e., Fantasy Violence, Historical Simulations, Swordplay)" should shed some light on the true definition. I feel I was mislead by ESRB and would caution you to be very careful when choosing a game for a child to play. I might add, that games with the T rating for "Teen" should not be considered for elementary and pre-teen kids. The 13+ on the Teen rating is there with good reason.
» By Stephan Mack, Plain Games. Published 2/28/2002.