I watched the Activision Family Game Summit the other day. As they are one of the largest entertainment software companies in the world, I was excited to hear about their new games being released for the holiday season. But before they started reviewing the games, they talked about 5 important terms that every parent should know in order to be more informed about video games. I thought it was really important to share with you all:
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a non-profit organization that assigns ratings for video games and apps so us parents can make informed choices. On the front of every video game, you will see a rating’s icon and on the back is more detailed content information. They have a very detailed website that allows parents to do further research on all of the games on the market. They also have a mobile app that you can download so when you’re in the store you have complete information at the point of purchase. If you need help starting an age appropriate discussion about online safety with your children check out their website as it’s full of valuable resources.
MMOSG: MASSIVELY MULTIPLAYER ONLINE GAME:
By definition, these are multiplayer video games which are capable of having lots of players play simultaneously. These games can be played on any platform but require a hook up to the Internet (most consoles are now online enabled). It also probably means that people can chat with you or your kids unless you set the parental controls to restrict this.
FREE TO PLAY:
Yes, you get the game for free, but things inside the game cost money like extra levels, outfits …(you might have seen this if you play Candy Crush as much as I do). We’ve all heard stories of kids that rack up $900 credit card bills online so make sure you set a credit card limit and never give the password to the kids.
On many of the consoles (especially the newer versions), you put in profile information. It is critical that we, the parents, watch our kids do this or do it for them. You never want to let them put in their age, phone number or address. Why? Go back and read MMOSG. This is a huge safety issue.
Again, this goes back to if your kids play online with other people. You might want to make sure you have set the parental controls so that “friends” can only be accessed by password. If they are playing with other people, look at the profiles of them and really understand whom they are playing with.
And with that, enjoy some time playing these games with your kids. Click here for my 2013 Holiday Video Game Gift Guide.