Parents' Guide To Computer Gaming

Parents' Guide To Computer Gaming

Many children want the latest computer game for birthdays or Christmas. Whilst many games are suitable for primary aged children, there are many that aren’t.  Last Christmas the top ten most wished for computer games on Amazon included eight PEGI rating 18 games, one PEGI 16 game and one PEGI 3. Here is a brief guide to how to choose a suitable game.

Always look for the age classification on the game package or via the search engine on this website.

Try to look for a summary or review of the game content or ideally play the game yourself first.

Play video games with your children, watch over them when they play and talk with them about the games they play. Explain why certain games are not suitable.

Be aware that online games sometimes enable the download of extra software that can alter the game content and eventually the age classification of the game.

Online games are usually played in virtual communities requiring players to interact with unknown fellow players. Tell your children not to give out personal details and report inappropriate behaviour.

Set the limits by using the parental control tools of the game console or pc.

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PEGI Ratings

The content of games given this rating is considered suitable for all age groups. Some violence in a comical context (typically Bugs Bunny or Tom & Jerry cartoon-like forms of violence) is acceptable. The child should not be able to associate the character on the screen with real life characters, they should be totally fantasy. The game should not contain any sounds or pictures that are likely to scare or frighten young children. No bad language should be heard.

Any game that would normally be rated at 3 but contains some possibly frightening scenes or sounds may be considered suitable in this category.

Videogames that show violence of a slightly more graphic nature towards fantasy character and/or non graphic violence towards human-looking characters or recognisable animals, as well as videogames that show nudity of a slightly more graphic nature would fall in this age category. Any bad language in this category must be mild and fall short of sexual expletives.

This rating is applied once the depiction of violence (or sexual activity) reaches a stage that looks the same as would be expected in real life. More extreme bad language, the concept of the use of tobacco and drugs and the depiction of criminal activities can be content of games that are rated 16.

The adult classification is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it becomes a depiction of gross violence and/or includes elements of specific types of violence. Gross violence is the most difficult to define since it can be very subjective in many cases, but in general terms it can be classed as the depictions of violence that would make the viewer feel a sense of revulsion.

Descriptors shown on the back of the packaging indicate the main reasons why a game has received a particular age rating. There are eight such descriptors: violence, bad language, fear, drugs, sexual, discrimination, gambling and online gameplay with other people.

Bad Language
Game contains bad language

Game contains depictions of, or material which may encourage, discrimination

Game refers to or depicts the use of drugs

Game may be frightening or scary for young children

Games that encourage or teach gambling

Game depicts nudity and/or sexual behaviour or sexual references

Game contains depictions of violence

Online gameplay
Game can be played online

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