Tools for Parents

Empowering parents and caregivers with information and tools to help them manage gameplay.

The video game industry understands the challenges parents and caregivers face raising children in this digital age. For more than 25 years, the video game industry has worked to provide consumers—especially parents and caregivers—the most comprehensive information and tools they need to decide which gameplay experiences are appropriate for their children, even when parents are not in the room.

ESRB Ratings and Other Tools

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is the non-profit, self-regulatory body for the video game industry. Established in 1994, ESRB assigns age and content rating information for video games and apps to help parents and caregivers decide which are appropriate for their family. The ESRB Advertising Review Council (ARC) enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines, and the Privacy Certified program helps members ensure responsible online and mobile privacy practices.

The ESRB rating system has three parts:

1) Rating Categories suggest age appropriateness (such as “T” for youth ages 13 and up).

2) Content Descriptors indicate content that may have prompted a particular rating (such as violence, alcohol references or crude humor).

3) Interactive Elements highlight a game’s interactive or online features (such as users’ ability to communicate with other users or to make in-game purchases).

The ESRB’s mobile app allows parents to look up rating information when considering a game for purchase. The ESRB also offers a Family Gaming Guide to help parents establish household rules for the whole family. For more information about ESRB’s tools and resources (including their work to ensure responsible advertising), visit www.esrb.org. For resources in Spanish, check out the ESRB’s ¡Vamos a Jugar! website.

Parental Controls

Virtually all devices on which video games can be played—including consoles, smartphones, tablets and PCs—provide controls to manage gameplay. These controls allow parents and caregivers to:
The ESRB offers step-by-step guides to help parents and caregivers set up parental controls for each video game console and PC in the home. Each of the major console makers—Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox—provide mobile apps that parents and caregivers can use to remotely manage their children’s gameplay.

See featured Tools for Parents examples from: