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What's Appropriate for your Gamer- E, E10+, T, M, AO?

One of the biggest concerns with raising a gamer is what games are appropriate and safe to play? This can be a pretty intimidating problem because we have all heard horror stories about how awful and inappropriate many games can be and nobody wants to give the green light to a game only to find out it promotes some awful worldview. Luckily, much like movies and TV, there is a rating system that can be a great starting point for determining if a video game is appropriate for your family. In the bottom corner of any video game case there should be a little white box with a letter in it. What do these letters mean and what should you know about the limitations of the rating system for your family. 

E - Everyone. This is the G rating of video games. Typically this means the game is suitable for children and will contain next to no language or suggestive themes.

E10+ - Everyone 10+ is the PG rating of video games. There may be some cartoon/fantasy violence and some very mild language and is targeted to be appropriate for anyone above the age of 10.

T - The PG13 of video games. This is where things get a little bit tricky. Similar to the PG13 rating on movies, there can a pretty wide range of reasons a game may be rated T. These games may include violence, crude humor, and occasional strong language.

M - The R rating of video games. These games all contain some combination of graphic violence, blood and gore, sexual themes, nudity, and strong language. 

AO - The NC-17 of video games. Truly explicit games only. Chances are, the most adult video game you have heard of is probably rated M. These games should almost universally be avoided when considering games for the child in your life.

This rating system is a great starting point but that’s all it is, a starting point. There are many shortcomings of the rating system as well as variance in how a game may get its rating. 

The rating listed on the box only reflects offline gameplay. So if you are a family that prioritizes language in the media you consume, a game may claim to not contain profanity, but the online experience may include an open mic where people from around the world can say whatever they want. 

Some games may not have naturally gotten a rating they hoped for and may have been revised to meet their desired rating because of what it does for their sales. Games like Call of Duty rely on their M rating to maintain their reputation as a game for adults so they skew the game to ensure getting that rating. Similarly some games have dialed back their content just enough to secure a lower rating so they can be marketed to kids. 

So does that mean the whole rating system is bogus? Absolutely not! I mention these things only to demonstrate that the label on the box can only go so far in helping you determine what is right for your family. The bottom line is there is no replacement for engaging more in the content that you child is consuming. 

I was a kid at the height of the Simpsons popularity and I desperately wanted to watch it. My parents were understandably concerned about that because I really wasn’t ready for some of the content on the show. But they also saw how badly I wanted to watch the show. So they would watch an episode, determine if it was appropriate for me or not, and then decide which episodes I would be allowed to watch. 

It would have been totally fair of my parents to see the rating on the Simpsons and outright ban me from watching it. But instead they chose to engage in the thing I was so curious about. And because of that, I was not only able to watch a show I still love to this day, but we were able to share that experience and enjoy it together rather than me just watching it alone in the living room.

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Be Inspired by Josh

Josh made this video to express his beliefs.  Listen to the wisdom that exudes from his life.  Perhaps this will inspire you to make a video to proclaim your beliefs and values.  Feel free to leave a positive comment about how Josh's video encouraged you.

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