It’s no secret to anyone that 2020 has been filled with a unique and unprecedented set of challenges. For many of us, life looks quite different than it did at this time last year. The good news is that families are spending a lot more time together. Of course, this much time spent at home creates its own set of new challenges for many families. Although there’s no “pandemic playbook”, we think parents are doing a pretty great job figuring things out on their own… even if it results in an increase in screen time.
With fewer options for kids to socialize outside of the house, video games are providing a fun and effective way to maintain connections with friends. To no one’s surprise, our research shows that many parents have eased up on their rules restricting the amount of time their kids can play. And that’s OK! Video games can also provide a whole host of other benefits, including the development of strategic thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and leadership skills. Truly! Just sit in on a session with them, if they’ll let you, and see for yourself. Or better yet, take a break and play a game with them.
The point is, when it comes to playing video games, parents can ease up on the reins a bit, while still staying engaged and on top of what their kids are playing and with whom.
And that’s where the ESRB can help.
Starting today, we’re launching our Stay Well, Play Well video campaign, encouraging parents to utilize the variety of tools available to them, including the three-part ESRB rating system in combination with parental controls, to help manage what games their kids play, for how long and with whom. By using parental controls, parents can also keep an eye on how much money (if any) their kids can spend on game-related purchases.
The Stay Well, Play Well public service announcements feature parents as well as experts like Dr. Rachel Kowert, Research Director for Take This, a nonprofit organization that provides mental health information and resources to the gaming community and industry. Dr. Kowert has the benefit of being both a mom and a gamer. “I love video games as much as my kids do,” she said.
Our six PSA spots feature different tools for parents, including:
All the videos can be viewed here.
All of us at the ESRB are dedicated to providing parents with easy ways to stay informed and involved. Especially during these challenging times, video games can be a great way for kids to stay connected socially and release stress, as well as a shared fun experience for the whole family.
Remember: Stay Well, Play Well
Patricia E. Vance is the president of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). In her position, she leads the teams responsible for assigning age and content ratings to video games and apps, enforcing marketing guidelines adopted by the video game industry, and operating ESRB Privacy Certified, an FTC-sanctioned COPPA Safe Harbor Privacy seal certification program.