ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Parents: Check the Age Rating for your Kids' Console Games

Updated on December 31, 2012

ESRB Game Ratings

South African gaming websites and online game stores generally do not limit the purchase of games with violence, sexual content and nudity, strong language, gambling, abuse of drugs and alcohol and other unsuitable material for children.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) provides brief, accurate sumaries that allow purchasers or users to see at a glance, the appropriateness of games for various ages. This Board is operable in the United States, not South Africa, but its ratings are a logical guideline for parents purchasing games for their children or trying to establish their suitability.

ESRB ratings for games are:

-early childhood (EC),

-everyone (E),

-everyone 10+ for children aged 10 and older (10+E),

-teen for ages 13 and older (T),

-mature for ages 17 and older (M),

-adults only for ages 18 and older (AO), and

-rating pending (RP)

ESRB Methodology

The ESRB ratings apply to games and mobile apps and they are established from information submitted by the game developer prior to publication. The content is evaluated based on aspects such as violence, language, nudity, sexual content, controlled substances and gambling - and a rating is then referred to the game developer.

The game's packaging reflects the assessed rating. The game and its packaging are subsequently assessed again after publication to ensure that the correct information was submitted to the ESRB for the rating. Astonishingly enough, ESRB employees even play the game for verification purposes - many kids and gamers would not regard that as work!

The game packaging displays the assessed rating, but online resellers of games in South Africa are not required to supply the rating on their website. Generally, no mechanism is available to purchasers on the website to assess a game's rating. Legislation does not require such a tool, but certain responsible resellers do provide a widget on their website.

This widget enables a concerned parent to type in the name of any rated game and it will then supply the rating for that game. Parents can assess the appropriateness of any game readily and easily, before buying the game for their kids.

Film and Publications Board Ratings

The South African Film and Publications Board (FPB) is tasked with rating games and those ratings are PG, 13, 16 and 18. An explanation of these ratings was given some time ago on the new website TimesLive.

"Games rated PG contain no references to drugs, no foul language and no nudity, but may contain “minimal violence in playful, comic or highly stylized settings”...

Further, games rated 13 are similarly restricted in terms of drug references, foul language and nudity, but may contain “sequences of mild violence”, provided there is “no mutilation or dismemberment of animal or human bodies”.

The 16+ classification makes allowances for drug reference — provided they do not glamorise their use — and some nudity, provided it is not tied to incentives within the game. But with regard to violence, the game may include sequences of intense violence in graphic detail. Mutilation and dismemberment may occur in animated contexts."

Interestingly, no explanation was given in the article for the 18+ classification. This rating might include prolonged scenes of nudity, drug abuse, and intense, sustained violence.

Parents: Check the Rating

The Film and Publications Board is not practically able to enforce ratings allocated - it is largely administrative in function and has little effectiveness. The author suggests that parents use any ESRB ratings that are available on the online storefront in order to make an informed decision and in the case of responsible stores offering a ratings widget, use that free service.

An example of a South African online gaming store that offers an age rating widget on its site for concerned parents, is Khaya iT games and figurines.

Parents are encouraged to check the latest games' ratings prior to purchasing them in order not to expose their children to inappropriate content. This is not a prerequisite for South African online console games' sites, and is entirely at the discretion of each individual.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)