You can already feel it in the air — the holiday shopping frenzy is about to begin! I know that at my house, video games are going to be on top of my son’s wish list. The problem is how to know which games are age appropriate. The titles can be misleading and some games might start out innocent enough but then get into violent content that I don’t want him viewing. Fortunately the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has ratings printed on virtually every game and gives a description of each rating. Ratings range from EC (Early Childhood 3+) to AO (Adults Only 18+.) Next to the rating symbol are content descriptors which will give you some idea as to why the game received this rating. What’s more, you can actually go to their site, www.esrb.org and search by game platform and rating to find all of the titles that are inappropriate based on your individual concerns.
While I was aware of the ratings on the game, what I didn’t know is that the new gaming platforms actually have parental controls built in which ensure a fun and safe gaming experience for our kids. These are available on Microsoft XBox 360, Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3. You can learn how to set up these parental controls at the ESRB website. So take a minute to check out their website and browse before you buy to make sure the "coolest present" is also going to be a safe one.