Ratings are a good way for a parent to determine whether a game is appropriate for your children. There are many resources for parents on the internet that discuss game ratings and game content to help you make a decision. Only you will know if your 9-year-old can play a teen game or if he should still be sticking with E (Everyone). While game ratings cannot give you all the information about a game, they are a good place to start.
If you are not a gamer, the ratings can be a little confusing. Letters stamped on the back of the box might not give you the info you need. The Entertainment Software Rating Board rates games based on content and interactive elements within the game.
Here is a quick guide to game ratings.
C or Early Childhood
Represents preschool and toddler games. These games can be educational and learning games.
E or Everyone
Suitable for any child and can contain mild language and cartoon fantasy. Mild violence can also be expected.
This is ok for kids 10 and up. Has a bit more violence and fantasy than E.
TEEN is considered ok for kids 13 and over. These games usually have more violence, suggestive themes, some blood, and strong language.
Mature is intended for kids 17 and older. These games can be violent and gory. They may have sexual situations and graphic content.
Your pre-teen may beg to play that mature game, but it might not be a good idea. Games are marked M for a reason and the violence has been proven to be bad for young kids. Game ratings also come in Adults only and rating pending meaning, they have not decided what rating the game should get yet. These ratings are intended as guidelines and suggestion by the ESRB to help you determine if your child should play that game. If a game is rated above your child’s age, but they just have to have it, Video game reviews online and store clerks can help you determine if he is ok to play it.