US parents want universal ratings says study

Current certification system for games and media confusing and inaccurate

A new study to be published in the July issue of Pediatrics magazine suggests US parents want a new universal rating system for all media.

"Our studies revealed that parents not only want changes to the ratings, but that they would support the creation of a universal system," reports the paper Parents' Evaluation of Media Ratings a Decade After Television Ratings Were Introduced.

"Given that we are well on the way to digital 'convergence,' where one can watch movies, television shows, or video games all on the same device, it seems that the time may be right to begin seriously considering taking this next step to improve media ratings." It also suggested one of the reasons for the demands was that parents find current systems inaccurate and confusing.

The research was the work of Douglas A. Gentile, Julia A. Maier, Mary Rice Hasson, and Beatriz Lopez de Bonetti, and collated the opinions of over 2,300 adults.

The study is somewhat contradictory to findings published by the Entertainment Software Association earlier this month, which reported that 98 per cent of US parents were confident that the ESRB ratings were "accurate".

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Latest comments (4)

Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts5 years ago
Funny, my site is working to address just this issue. Oh and I would have originally thought that the ESRB study was completely bogus, except when I talk to a lot of parents they barely even look at the ESRB rating before buying the game for their kids.

It probably depends on the area.
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Doug McFarlane Co-Owner, KodeSource5 years ago
I'd take the results of any 'study' with a grain of salt.
The methods can be tailored to skew the results to favor whatever 'opinion' is desired.

I'm surprised that 98 per cent of US parents have even heard of the term 'ESRB'!
So those results aren't very accurate either in my opinion (just a hunch).

Sure, we need a rating system. One that is easy to understand. One that is fair and accurate. But still remember, even after creating the perfect rating system, my "study" says that 98 per cent of parents will still ignore it. But this effort would be for the concerned 2 per cent.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany5 years ago
Why they ask for a new ratting system if most of em actually don't pay atention to the one we have now? (That goes for both USA, Germany and the rest of European countries using the PEGI system).

I think the ESRB system is quite ok in general, it can be improved, but I think their work was quite ok (a lot better than the German USK at least).

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 22nd June 2011 8:05am

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Laurent Mandement Freelance Journalist 5 years ago
I tend to prefer the PEGI system. At least, if a game gets rated 18+ by PEGI, it is still stored by retail stores, unlike what happends with the AO rating of the ESRB.
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