Families should shoulder responsibility
President Donald Trump recently called for action regarding video game violence in response to recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The video game industry actually has been empowering parents for 25 years with many tools to limit what their children are exposed to and continues to do so.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board, formed in 1994, has rated nearly every video game released since that time. The game’s rating is printed on the front and back of each game’s packaging and notes also are printed, usually on the back of the packaging, regarding the content that led to the rating each game receives. Moreover, many retailers will not sell games rated M, equivalent to R on the movie rating scale, to people younger than 17. In addition, all three major console manufacturers forbid adult-only titles to be published on their consoles.
Industry executives also pointed out in their response to President Trump all three major console manufacturers have included a feature in their consoles that allows parents to control what games can be played by each family member on the console. For instance, the parent of a 10-year-old can configure the system so games rated higher than E10+, the rating which indicates the game is appropriate for people ages 10 and older, cannot be played by the child. Nintendo also includes a feature on its newest console which allows parents to limit the amount of time the child is able to play each day.
Like movie directors, video game developers have a vision for each game they create and we are free to not purchase the game if we do not agree with that game’s content or objective. Hindering the developers’ freedom to achieve their vision is not the answer. Parents, the responsibility falls to us.
The video game industry has given us a number of tools, resources and information to help us make the best decisions when purchasing games for our children and it is time we started taking responsibility by using those resources to the fullest.