Resources for Parents
ESA is working to help parents make sure that children are safe online and playing video games their parents consider appropriate. Through the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the association has voluntarily established numerous tools and policies to help parents make educated choices and encourage retailers to sell age-appropriate games to youth. The association also promotes parental controls included in many of today's game consoles. ESA is also a major supporter of the Web Wise Kids' Program, which is working to keep children safe in today's technology rich environment.
An independent, nonprofit self-regulatory body, ESRB assigns age and content ratings to computer and video games, enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines, and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices. ESRB ratings enable parents to make informed decisions about the computer and video games they choose for their families, based both on age-appropriateness and concise, impartial descriptions of content that may have triggered the rating or that may otherwise be of interest. The entertainment software industry has universally adopted ESRB's rating system; retailers support it and parents and opinion leaders consider it the best entertainment rating system in the country. The latest report of the Federal Trade Commission shows that over 80 percent of parents are aware of ESRB's system, and over 70 percent of parents use it in making their buying decisions.
ESA encourages parents to take advantage of the parental controls that are included on all new game platforms (Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3 and PSP, and Microsoft Vista). For more information about setting up these controls visit http://www.esrb.org/about/resources.jsp.
Web Wise Kids
Web Wise Kids is a unique organization that teaches kids about essential safety and privacy issues – such as social networking, blogging, online romances, bullying, cyber stalking, and identify theft – through fun, challenging, and interactive simulations that are based on actual criminal cases. Designed specifically to be flexible and easy to use with young people in classrooms and school computer labs, the simulations are also available in home versions. Programs are also available to enhance parents' and other adults' knowledge and understanding of online safety issues.
For more on this issue, please visit the section on the recent Supreme Court case: Brown v. EMA/Entertainment Software Association.