Education & Outreach
While the vast majority of parents are aware of the ESRB rating system and regularly use it, there is always more that can and should be done. ESRB engages in aggressive public education and outreach efforts that promote the ESRB rating system, explain how it works and encourage parents to use it. We also develop tools and resources to help parents manage their children's video games, including parental control guides and information related to online safety. All of these efforts help ESRB fulfill its mission of helping parents choose age-appropriate video games for their children and families.
PSAs: "OK To Play? - Check The Ratings"
Introduced in Fall 2003, the ESRB continues to expand the award-winning "OK To Play? - Check The Ratings" consumer education campaign. The campaign generates over a billion consumer impressions annually through print, television, radio and online PSA advertising and an expansive retail partnership program. An aggressive public relations initiative also supports these efforts through news stories on television, radio, in print and online informing parents about the rating system.
Helping consumers make informed purchase decisions at the point of sale is critical, and so ESRB works closely with retailers to help ensure that their stores display signage about the ESRB rating system, train their store associates about the ratings and enforce their store policies regarding the sale or rental of M-rated games. To further this commitment, the ESRB Retail Council (ERC) was launched in 2005 to support ratings education and store policy enforcement. Click here for more information about ESRB's retail partnerships and the ERC.
ESRB offers several tools for finding a game's rating information, including its rating summary. By using ESRB's mobile website (m.esrb.org) or free mobile apps parents can look up a game's rating and rating summary right from the store aisle, which is when they need this information most. We've also developed the ESRB rating search widget which can be displayed on blogs and other partner web pages.
To facilitate an online, ongoing conversation with parents about issues related to their kids' video games - including everything from the rating system, parental controls, online safety and recent stories and tips related to effectively managing media in one's household - ESRB is on both Facebook and Twitter (@OKtoPlay). Significant outreach is also done to engage parent-focused blogs and bloggers who are receptive to video game issues and have been eager to educate their readers about ESRB ratings, rating summaries and the various tools available to parents.
ESRB is actively partnering with a variety of organizations to provide ratings education materials to parents and other consumers. This includes commercial and non-profit organizations, Internet sites, various state and local governmental bodies and many other partners.
To localize ESRB's public education efforts and raise their profile, ESRB established partnerships with the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals and San Francisco Giants. The campaigns have featured team stars appearing in TV and radio PSAs encouraging parents to use the ESRB ratings, which are broadcast in their team's marketing territory. The ads have also been displayed on screens in the stadiums during their home games.