With Holiday Shopping Season Underway, Oklahoma State Senator Glenn Coffee Launches PSA Campaign On Video Game Ratings
New Ads Explain and Encourage Parents to Use ESRB Ratings to Choose Age-Appropriate Games for their Families
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – With the holiday shopping season underway, Oklahoma State Senator Glenn Coffee and Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) president Patricia E. Vance today unveiled a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign to explain and encourage parents to use video game ratings.
In the TV and radio ads, previewed for the news media at an Oklahoma City Blockbuster store Tuesday morning, Coffee encouraged parents to check the rating each time they purchase or rent a video game to ensure that it is appropriate for their children and family. The State Senator also encouraged parents to spend time with their children in order to be sure the choice of the game was appropriate.
“As a father, I know about the tough decisions parents face today about the media they allow into their homes,” said State Senator Coffee, District 30, Oklahoma City. “The simple fact is that there’s no substitute for parental involvement and responsibility. It’s important that parents play an active role in choosing games for their children, just as it’s important for Oklahoma retailers to comply with their store policies that restrict the sale or rental of M-rated games to those under 17. ESRB ratings are an effective and informative resource that allows parents to decide if the video game their child wants is appropriate. I’m proud to be educating parents in our state about the tools at their disposal.”
The public service announcements are being provided to radio and television stations and cable providers in Oklahoma this month as parents head to the stores to buy video games as holiday gifts. ESRB has also prepared a brochure providing additional information about the rating system. The brochure is available at Blockbuster stores, and the PSAs can be viewed in the Media Library on ESRB’s website.
“Just like movies and TV shows, video games are created for a diverse audience of all ages,” said ESRB president Patricia Vance. “That is why it is so important that parents remember to check the rating when purchasing games for their children. I’m pleased to be joining State Senator Coffee in announcing his effort to reach out to Oklahoma’s parents and educate them about the ratings.”
The ESRB video game ratings employ a two-part system. As seen in the illustration below, rating symbols on the front of virtually every game package sold at retail provide an age recommendation, such as EC (Early Childhood 3+), E (Everyone 6+), E10+ (Everyone 10 and up), T (Teen 13+) and M (Mature 17+). On the back of each package, 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.
Since its inception in 1994, the ESRB ratings have become a trusted resource for parents when choosing computer and video games. In April of this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report1 which found that nine in ten parents are aware of the ESRB ratings, 87% expressed satisfaction, and nearly three quarters use them regularly when choosing games for their children.
“While many parents are aware of the ratings, and are making sensible game purchase decisions as a result, there is always more that can be done to raise awareness,” concluded Coffee. “Working with ESRB, we hope that these ads will help arm parents with the information they need to make the right choices about the video games they deem appropriate for their children and families.”
A complete list of ratings, content descriptors and their definitions can be found on the ESRB website at www.esrb.org. More information about ESRB PSA initiatives is available at http://www.esrb.org/about/psa.aspx.
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 applies computer and video game content ratings, enforces advertising guidelines, and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices for the interactive entertainment software industry.
About State Senator Glenn Coffee
Glenn Coffee represents District 30 in the Oklahoma State Senate, where he serves as Co- President Pro Tempore. Coffee is a husband, father of four, community leader, businessman and attorney. First elected to the State Senate in 1998, Coffee was re-elected without opposition in 2002 and 2006.
1Federal Trade Commission Report to Congress on the Marketing of Violent Entertainment to Children, April 2007
Eliot Mizrachi, ESRB
Paul Ziriax, State Senator Coffee