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Attorney General Pruitt Offers Warnings and Guidance on Choosing Video and Computer Games as Gifts for Children

December 15, 2011

New Oklahoma public service announcement on ESRB game ratings designed to help parents make informed choices

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Scott Pruitt joined the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to create a new public service announcement for Oklahoma families about the video and computer game rating system. The tips are designed to help parents decide which games are best for their children and families.

“As a father, I know about the tough decisions parents face today regarding the media they allow into their homes,” Attorney General Pruitt said. “Parents need and deserve all the help they can get, and the ESRB ratings are an effective and informative resource that allows parents to decide if the video game their child wants to play is appropriate.”

The ESRB video game ratings consist of two parts. Rating symbols on the front of every game package sold at retail stores provide an age recommendation. On the back, next to the rating, are content descriptors that provide information about what’s in the game that may have triggered the rating or may be of interest or concern to parents.

“Just like movies and TV shows, video games are created for a diverse audience of all ages,” ESRB president Patricia E. Vance said. “That is why it is so important that parents remember to check the rating when purchasing games for their children. We are very proud to have the support of Attorney General Pruitt in reaching out to Oklahoma’s parents and educating them about the ratings.”

The TV and radio PSAs will be delivered to stations across Oklahoma, all of which are urged to support this effort by airing the ads as frequently as possible – especially during the holiday shopping season when parents are out purchasing games to give as gifts. The campaign also includes ratings education brochures that have been distributed to video game retailers throughout the state.

Below are helpful tools for parents and grandparents to learn more about electronic gaming.

  • Check the Rating – Checking for a game’s ESRB rating is a great place to start in terms of gauging the game’s age-appropriateness.
  • Set Parental Controls – Parental controls are built into game consoles or handheld devices to allow parents to restrict games by their rating. Some parental controls allow parents to decide when and for how long their child can play, and lets parents “mute” or disable the ability for their child to hear the game’s online
  • Be Involved – Parental involvement is the best tool parents have in managing and monitoring online safety. Stay involved, keep the computer or game system in a common area, so you can keep an eye and ear on the action, and talk with kids about what they’re playing and whom they’re playing
  • Don’t Disclose – Make sure children know not to divulge personal or financially sensitive information about themselves or other family members when completing profiles, purchasing items or interacting with others online. Personal information includes home address, telephone number, school, names of friends, parents work location or their plans with
  • Beware of Cyberbullies – Cyberbullying is a serious and growing problem, and can be just as real and hurtful as the traditional kind. Watch for warning signs that your child is the target of cyberbullying through online and interactive

For more information on game ratings or to download a free ESRB cell phone app, go online to www.esrb.org. The new PSA can be viewed here.

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Contact:

Diane Clay, Director of Communications
(405) 522-0166, (405) 250-8792 cell
Diane.Clay@oag.ok.gov

Karee Pyeatt, Public Information Officer
(405) 522-4400
Karee.Pyeatt@oag.ok.gov

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