Kansas & Missouri A.G.s Remind Parents of Game Ratings

With the holiday shopping season upon us, a pair of Midwestern attorneys general have reminded parents to be mindful of ESRB ratings as they purchase video games for their children.

In Kansas, WIBW reports on comments by Attorney General Steve Six (D, left):

As a parent of four young children, I know how important it is to be informed about the content in video games and to make sure games purchased as gifts are age appropriate for your child. The ESRB computer and video game rating system is the best guide parents can use to determine if a game’s content is right for their children.

Meanwhile, Ozarks First reports on a more generic warning from the office of Missouri Attorney General. No comments are provided. That’s likely because current A.G. Jay Nixon (D) was elected governor on November 4th and is in the midst of transitioning to his new role. 


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  1. Michael Chandra says:

    So wait, asking people to check the ratings is a bad thing? Then why do we HAVE the damn things? I thought it was so that parents, kids and adults can look at the rating, see why it has that rating, and decide whether or not they think that content is suitable.

    Oh and they list why in the newer ratings right? So you just look at the why and compare to YOUR values, and see for yourself whether you agree or disagree.

    To be honest with all this stuff about how parents should actually take care of the kids themselves, you’d expect people to be happy with parents being pointed at the ratings that allow them to know what their kids are playing, rather than saying that’s not actual parenting. What should they  do, testplay every game at the shop (which isn’t allowed)? Google? We’re talking about not-that-good-with-technology parents.

  2. Bennett Beeny says:

    But it’s not responsible parenting to rely on ratings.  On the contrary – relying on ESRB ratings is ABDICATING responsibility and giving it up to someone else (in this case a ratings board).  I think it’s ironic that even some thoughtful people here – people who should know better – have been brainwashed into thinking that relying on someone else to do part of the parenting job is ‘good parenting’.

    People here talk about the ‘nanny state’ and at the same time laud industry ratings systems which amount to the exact same thing.

    I don’t consult my neighbours, my friends or even my family regarding ways to raise my child unless I’m 100% sure that they share what I regard as healthy values, so I’m damned sure I’m not going to give up part of my responsibility to some ratings board.  I mean does anyone here know what the ethics and morality of the board members is?  Does anyone know what their priorities are?  Is there a list available of criteria by which they judge games?  I haven’t seen one, yet people here are saying that I should trust them to guide me on what games to buy for my kid?  Is everyone on some drug here?

    How do I know that a ratings board rates games according to MY values?  Short answer – I don’t and neither do you, and that means that we should not rely on them to help raise our children.

    Game ratings can never help anyone raise their kid better – they can only help raise a kid with less effort – that’s not the same thing, and it encourages parental laziness.

    I guess it’s typical of this generation that its members can make laziness seem like a virtue.  Not only that, but they make it seem like laziness is a preferable way to bring up a child, rather than actually doing the work of parenting.

  3. Conejo says:

    kudos to these guys for preaching responsible parenting instead of turning us into more of a nanny state.

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  4. Bennett Beeny says:

    Exactly my point.

    The thing that really bothers me about the post I initially responded to is that it assumes that the only way to be a good parent is by using ratings.  There’s a much better way – play your kid’s games before he/she does.  No ratings system can let a parent know whether game content is appropriate – only the parent can do that.  In my view, ratings systems are purely a way for parents to avoid their responsibility.  After all, it’s not like ingredient lists or drug safety warnings – games have never been shown to be harmful in any way.  After all, if parents want to figure out what sort of content is in a game they’re not going to find it by referencing ratings.

  5. DeepThorn says:

    There is a difference between using it as an aid, and using it as your only method of judgment other than looking at the title.  Blitz looks decently innocent, then once you learn about the hookers, things will be different for many parents that buy their kid the game.  A good parent will see the rating and be like, why is it rated this, then do some research.  If ESRB adds why they rated a game as such, then it will be better.  Like, oh it is rated M, because it has violence, or hookers, or Jack Thompson’s rambling, or  language, or gore, then it is a lot more useful.

    I know parents that stick to movie ratings to the T, while my parents were relaxed and let me watch R movies at 8 or so, nudity, violence, and so on, no big deal.  Pretty much the same games went.  The biggest change you may see in a kid with games is increased violence or temper, but that could be caused by Tetris even if they cant make it past someone else’s high score or some other goal.  That isn’t every kid, and normally is such a small change that it isn’t a big deal.  It isn’t like they are going to blow your head off over it.

    Rating systems are suppose to be a guide, not a strict way to raise your kids.  It is suppose to give you an idea of what content is in the game, so you can give better judgment of what you want your kids to play, and maybe even learn if your child was lying about it not being that bad of a game, especially for the parents totally detached from the gaming world.

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  6. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Do you consider parents who rely on ingredient lists and nutritional information in choosing what to feed their kids as not doing their jobs?

    The ESRB provides an easy way for parents to find out exactly what type of content to expect in a game before purchasing it. Sure it also offers suggested age rankings for games too and it is up to the parents to make a decision bsed off that information.

    It would make parenting so much more difficult if nothing came with any kind of content listing. Imagine if your kid had a deadly allergy to soy, yet no foods had ingredients or warnings on them. It would be a nightmare to pick what to buy for the kid without killing him.

    Or perhaps you just don’t like your kid eating artifical sweeteners. How are you supposed to know what contained artifical sweeteners if nothing is listed.

    Game ratings offer a similar service. If you don’t want your kids exposed to certain types of violence, language, or sexual content, you can look at the ratings and make the decision. It is optional.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  7. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Hey, keep it clean.


    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  8. VideolandHero says:

    Hey, fuck you man.  This kid is awesome if you actually met him.  >:(

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

  9. VideolandHero says:

    I have to agree, it depends on the kid.  My 10 year old cousin likes to play GTA and he is fine.  He usually plays with his friends, rides ATVs, and mows lawns for money.  Yes, at 10 years old he mows lawns for money with a riding lawn mower.  I know another kid at 10 he got scared playing Luigi’s Mansion (which is E rated) and wanted to play something else, but liked playing Metal Gear Solid: VR missions.

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

  10. VideolandHero says:

    I didn’t notice it.  I recently bought Commander Keen and Half Life and they don’t have ratings.

    But you should buy Half Life, it’s 98 cents, and it is going back to $10 any minute now.

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

  11. Bigman-K says:

    Well, when it comes to young children like those still in their single age brackets, extremely violent games like GTA and Manhunt could probably have a negative effect as kids in that stage of development don’t yet have a firm grasp on the difference between right and wrong, reality and fantasy and what is and is not acceptable behavior in real life situations. Other then really young children, i see what you’re saying.

    "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  12. Bennett Beeny says:

    I don’t see how they can hurt kids either.  My daughter (aged 5) has played GTA4 and Assassin’s Creed and she’s suffered no ill effects.  In my view this whole ratings issue is just a way for politicians to use scare tactics to help them win elections.

  13. DeepThorn says:

    Only very young children, and certain games.  Just like certain movies…  They can cause nightmares, and ever other problems if the child can not separate reality and fantasy well enough.  Other than that, it is all bullshit really.  Kind of like nudity in anything. 

    It is no big deal at all, but in the US we get all huffy if a woman breast feeds in public, when if we didn’t put so much attention to it in the first place, then a woman walking around without a shirt and bra would just be like, hey she has a green shirt on kinda thought instead of like BOOOOOOOOOOOBIEEEES!!!!!  That and other females get really jealous when other females have better looking boobs in their opinion.  So they get defensive and act like it is horrible when they just have no confidence about their own tits.

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  14. DeepThorn says:

    Just the natural reaction of the government.  Start really loose rules on something, then over tightening them.  Though I agree the parents should get community service of their 10 year old breaks into a house and breaks everything in it, actual jail time shouldn’t be used unless it is an extreme case where the parent just was not doing anything to keep control of their kid.

    You are right, parents dont have complete control, but they have a huge majority of control on everything.  Location, town, keeping track of their kids, and so on.

    The parent is responsible for the child while the child is still living in their house, even more so before the child has a drivers license.  They have almost complete control on what happens to their child, who they are around, and what they do, not directly, but through their past and current parenting.  The failure of that causes problems, though there can be outside influences, normally a parent can sense that if they are a part of their child’s life instead of just being there.  When things happen within their own house though, then they are absolutely responsible.  If a child becomes addicted to the computer, video games, or anything else for that matter, the parent is missing something to begin with, and need to parent instead of being a passive part of their child’s life.  Failure to do so, I would qualify as neglect.

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  15. Bennett Beeny says:

    Well, I think that if you allow some ratings board to determine what your kid should play you’re not being a very good parent.  Parents who use ESRB ratings to help them to do their job aren’t doing their job properly.  Each kid is different and each kid needs the parent, not some ratings board, to figure out what’s appropriate.

  16. MaskedPixelante says:

    MORE politicians who want parents to be parents, and not whiny little monsters who want GTA banned because their kids friends might play it?


    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  17. Doomsong says:

    Hooray for accountability!!

    Now if we can just get certain EX-members of the legal field to develop some sort of sensibility, we might actually be able to focus on the real problems of society.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" – Benjamin Franklin

  18. Michael Chandra says:

    He’s only been an Attorney General for less than a year. Non-elected even, was picked by a Governor to replace a sex-scandal guy. Didn’t have time to become a crazy old man yet. Also probably helps he has 4 kids (poor guy).

  19. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Steve Six, huh?

    Mask, you might have something there.


    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  20. VideolandHero says:

    If ratings are such a big deal, why doesn’t Steam show the ratings for the games on it?

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

Comments are closed.