Understanding Game Ratings: How to Keep Your Kids Safe

game ratings

Parents can use game ratings to make sure they’re appropriate for their kids, but that’s hard to do if you don’t understand what they mean.

Fortunately, it’s a very simple system used to tell you about the content inside. There’s also plenty of other resources to help monitor your kids and control what they’re interacting with. 

So, what are game ratings and how else can you keep your kids safe?

What Are Game Ratings?

Game developers use ratings to identify the lowest age group for which the game is appropriate. There are 7 possible categories and each one gives you an idea of what’s inside the game.

  • EC: Early Childhood-

These games are appropriate for kids 3+ years old. There’s virtually no objectionable content.

  • E: Everyone-

There may be some offensive language and violence, but it’s very minimal. Anyone over the age of 6 can play.

  • E10+: Everyone 10+ Years-Old-

It’s very similar to E with minimal language and violence, but there could be some suggestive scenes.

  • T: Teens-

Anyone over age 13 is suitable. The language is mild, but it can have blood, violence, and crude humor.

  • M: Mature-

A mature audience is considered anyone 17+. Mature games can include gore, violence, strong language, and sexual content.

  • AO: Adults Only-

This one’s self-explanatory. Nobody under the age of 18 should be playing. It’s like M, but there may be prolonged sexual content and extreme violence.

  • RP: Rating Pending-

RP means Rating Pending. It’s likely that games with this rating are inappropriate and should be avoided.

Ratings are assigned by a self-regulated group called the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), so you should still see what the content includes for yourself in case the rating doesn’t match what you think is appropriate.

More Resources to Keep Your Kids Safe

As a parent, you’ll do anything to keep your kids safe. Understanding game ratings is helpful, but there are other resources.

Parents like to help other parents with tips and tricks for raising kids. Parent safety blogs can give you good insight on what games are appropriate for certain age groups because they’ve already looked into it.

Try playing the game with your kid first. This way you can see the content for yourself while your kid “teaches” you how to play. It’ll build trust and they’ll enjoy the interaction.

There’s also plenty of parental controls inside games to restrict what content your kids’ access. Age-appropriate filtering tools are a sure way to shield them from crude language, violence, and sexual content.


Navigating what games are appropriate can be overwhelming. By understanding game ratings and using other safety resources, your kids can play the games they love, and you can have the peace of mind that they’re protected.


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