Debate Hour: Are Age Ratings on Video Games Relevant?

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Age Ratings are a key bit of information on most media products. They help people to know what kind of content is in the game, film, or tv show.

However, with children today becoming much more de-sensitised to these things. Are they still relevant? Or does the large number of children playing graphic games mean that parents don't care?

Let's take a detailed look at both sides of the debate and why people feel this way.

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What are Age Ratings?

Age ratings are key to determining what kind of content will be in a video game. Ratings are given by the ESRB and are separated into age categories. Each category will have different things involved. These can include violence, sex, blood, gore, and many others.

A full guide to ratings can be found on the ESRB official website here.

Ratings ARE Relevant For Video Games

People on this side of the debate agree that these ratings are still relevant. With some games including extreme gore, violence and sex, having them can let parents know which games are suitable for their younger children.

They aren't just important for parents though. Children are able to decide things for themselves at a much younger age compared to 50 years ago. Having these ratings may help them to realise what they are choosing is unsuitable. Additionally, this means that children won't be watching things that could harm them.

Ratings AREN'T Relevant For Video Games

People who agree with this side of the argument look at statistics for gamers. With over half of 2,000 parents letting their children play violent video games, it makes sense why they don't feel relevant.

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The general consensus is that children and adults usually don't take into consideration the correct age for playing a game. This, paired with the fact that some adults don't understand the game, could be why they aren't as relevant anymore.

There is also the 'forbidden fruit' effect that they may have on children. So, having an 18+ game may be more tempting to a child as they know that they are not allowed to own that content.

With both sides having some compelling arguments, how do you feel? Are age ratings still relevant? Or, should they become a thing of the past?