Video games are becoming more prominent in young peoples lives. Children aged between 12-15 are estimated to sepnd around 12 hours per week playing video games. With much of the content of video games now being online it is important to be aware of what your child is playing.
Much like movies and other DVDs, video games come with an age rating system that will help determine whether they are appropriate for your child. It is a legal requirement for all video games to display this rating in a label clearly on the front of any game case. Additionally, on the back of the case there are labels that work as indicators of why a game has recieved it's rating. These labels are known as PEGI(Pan-European Game Information) Ratings.
PEGI Ratings and Their Meanings
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.
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.