Parenting.com and ESRB Partner To Educate Parents About Video Games And The Rating System In Time For The Holidays
New Tools and Resources Help Prepare Parents for the Gift-Buying Season
NEW YORK – The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the non-profit, self- regulatory body which assigns age and content ratings for video games, has partnered with Bonnier Corp.’s Parenting Group to offer moms a series of new online tools and content on Parenting.com that will help them make informed choices about the video games their children play. The partnership is expected to generate a total of nearly 50 million parent impressions, and has been timed to begin at the start of the busy Holiday shopping season when more than half of all games are sold each year.
“As we head into the Holiday season, parents are keeping their ears open for gift ideas, and video games are a perennial favorite. But just like movies and TV shows, not all games are intended for kids,” said ESRB president Patricia Vance. “That said, video games are actually among the easiest of media for parents to control, and for the readers of Parenting it just got even easier. With the tools, resources and information we’re providing on Parenting.com, moms will have all the help they need when it comes to choosing the right games for their family.”
Through this new partnership, Parenting.com will offer readers an ESRB rating search widget designed exclusively for Parenting. The widget searches ESRB’s database for the ratings and content descriptors assigned to more than 16,000 game titles, making sure parents are informed even before they head out to the store with their gift list in hand. The widget can be grabbed and placed on one’s desktop, personal homepage or social networking page, as well as shared with friends.
The Parenting.com website will also publish a series of three articles by ESRB president Patricia Vance, the first of which, “5 Steps to Smart Video Game Choices,” provides a primer for parents about the ESRB age and content ratings as well as how to take advantage of the parental control settings available on all new game consoles.
To keep parents ahead of the curve when it comes to the games their kids are likely to be asking for this Holiday season, Parenting.com will publish a monthly list of some of the best-selling titles with their complete ESRB rating information. Parenting will also run four full-page ESRB print PSA ads, two in the November and December issues to be timed with the Holiday shopping season, and two more in early 2009.
In addition to the ESRB partnership, Parenting.com will also be introducing a new Parenting.com Shopping Channel, an online video commerce tool that enables users to make purchases while they view videos of Parenting editors discussing their favorite product recommendations. The Parenting.com Shopping Channel will kick off with a series of shopping guide videos including the Parenting.com Video Game Cheat Sheet, a guide to choosing the right video games for kids which includes complete ESRB ratings information for all titles mentioned.
“Parenting is dedicated to empowering moms with the guidance they need to make smart choices for their children,” said Susan Kane, editorial director of The Parenting Group and editor-in-chief of Parenting magazine. “Navigating the world of video games can be a daunting task for moms, so we’re thrilled that this partnership with ESRB will give our readers an extremely valuable tool to help them better understand the video games their children love to play.”
The ESRB engages in several initiatives to reach parents about the ratings, including an award-winning Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign that includes television, radio, print and online components. Working in partnership with national retailers to post in-store signage about the ratings as well as groups such as the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to distribute informational brochures and develop online resources, the ESRB continues to aggressively pursue opportunities that present consumers, especially parents, with information about the tools at their disposal.
The ESRB rating system includes six age-based rating categories: EC (Early Childhood) for ages 3+; E (Everyone) for ages 6+; E10+ (Everyone 10 and older); T (Teen) for ages 13+; M (Mature) for ages 17+; and AO (Adults Only) which indicates that the game should only be played by adults age 18 and older. The rating is found on the front of virtually every game sold at retail in the U.S. The rating system also includes over 30 content descriptors, found next to the rating on the back of game packages, which describe content in the game that may be of interest or concern to parents or may have triggered a rating category, including violence, sexual content, language, use or depiction of controlled substances, and gambling.
# # #
About Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
The ESRB is a non-profit, self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). ESRB independently assigns computer and video game content ratings, enforces advertising guidelines, and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices for the interactive entertainment software industry.
About The Parenting Group
The Parenting Group delivers over 15 million mom impressions and 20 million consumer touchpoints every month to the valuable mom market. Its two flagship brands are Parenting, the nation’s premier magazine for moms, and the Babytalk portfolio, which includes the monthly Babytalk magazine and its siblings Babytalk First Months and Babytalk Mom-to-Be. The Parenting Group’s other extensions include: Parenting.com; MomConnection®, an online research tool; and a custom content unit. The Parenting Group is a division of Bonnier Corporation.
Eliot Mizrachi, ESRB
Catherine McManus, The Parenting Group