EDITORIAL | Are parents making informed decisions while buying video games?


We have finally reached the time of year that many of us look forward to the most – the holiday season. Although it has been a rather rough year for all of us, it seems that the Christmas hype is doing its part by somewhat lifting the spirits of many.

Christmas is a time when people give and receive gifts – especially a merry time for children, who eagerly count the days left until they would be able to open their presents. In this season, gifting of video games by parents is highly popular.

However, with the evolving industry of video games, not every game title is suitable for younger players. While some games have educational content, many of the most popular games contain graphic violence, sex, drug use, profanity, racial, sexual, and gender stereotypes. Often, parents buy games by giving in to the demands of the children. Are they monitoring what they buy?

ESRB Ratings

This is where the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) come into the picture. Both these organisations assign age and content ratings to video games titles to help consumers make informed decisions when buying video games. The ratings are featured prominently on the game packaging.

Exposure to media plays a large role in shaping perceptions, especially when we talk about children. Often, studies have shown that children exposed to violent media may become numb to violence or show more aggressive behaviour. This plays a larger influence on younger children, especially those with emotional, behavioural or learning problems.

PEGI Ratings

Not that video games are bad. Many age-appropriate games can be enjoyable and promote learning, problem-solving and help with the development of fine motor skills and coordination.

With the high exposure of Gen-Z to all types of media, it is highly important that parents, who may likely not be aware of developments of the gaming world, still make extra efforts to make informed choices while buying such video games.

(The views and opinion expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of TNT-The Northeast Today)