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Video Games: Set Your Own Ratings System

Familiarize Yourself With A Video Game’s Content Before Allowing A Teen To Buy It or Download It From The Internet.

According to the National Institute on Media and the Family, most mothers and fathers don’t realize how offensive some of these titles are. In a survey of five hundred parents, fewer than one in twenty had ever heard of one popular game, much less knew its content, compared to four in five junior-high-school students.

With thousands of videos on the market, it is impossible to know the content of each one. Fortunately, three major ratings systems have been devised to help parents and youngsters make wise choices. After Congress threatened to regulate the industry, most major game manufacturers voluntarily began labeling their products through the independent Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Limit Game-Playing Time To A Maximum of One Hour Per Day.

Encourage Your Teenager To Play Games That Involve Two Players.

The trend in video games has been toward games that are played alone. A typical scenario pits our young hero against a horde of hostile foes. Too much time spent absorbed in violent fantasy may foster social isolation.

Ask Your Store To Enforce Policies Prohibiting The Sale or Rental of “T” (Teen) or “M” (Mature) Videos To Underage Children.

A National Institute on Media and the Family survey of video stores across the country found that more than four in five sold or rented “T” videos to children younger than age thirteen, and “M” videos to those not yet seventeen.

Video Games That Are At Odds With Your Family’s Values Should Not Be Allowed In Your Home.

Explain to your youngster that she cannot play a new video game until you’ve had an opportunity to look the product over and determine whether or not it is suitable. If you decide no, it goes back in the rack or back to the store. It is parents’ prerogative and responsibility to impose their personal rating system, no matter what games are played at friends’ or neighbors’ houses.

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Caring for Your Teenager (Copyright © 2003 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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