So here's the situation. Your child asks for the latest game for Christmas or their birthday, and you want to get it. But hold on one second! Is the game your child wants suitable for them? Many parents will willingly buy their children copies of games such as Grand Theft Auto, assuming that because it is a game, it will be suitable. However, they are mistaken. Would you buy your 10-year-old an 18-rated DVD? The situation is the same with computer games, with a similar rating system and also a content advisor system. I will show you what they mean, and what the rules are about buying children computer games.
So you have found the game you wish to buy your child. Great! Now you need to find the age rating. Like DVDs, all modern computer games carry an age rating. UK and European games carry a rating from PEGI, the Pan-European Game Information system.
This is an example PEGI game rating. PEGI ratings that look like this are recommendations only. This means that you can buy the game for a child that is younger, but the game is recommended to children over the specified age. These ratings come in 3+, 7+, 12+ and 16+.
The 18+ variant of this is usually in the same style as DVD 18+ ratings, i.e.
When a game shows this on its box, you are not allowed to buy or play this game if you are under 18. Just like DVDs and videos, you cannot purchase it for a child or if you are under 18 yourself.
PEGI also uses logos to describe content in the game. These logos are usually visible on the front or the back of the case. Here are the logos, and their PEGI descriptions -
Game contains depictions of violence
Game contains bad language
Game may be frightening or scary for young children
Game depicts nudity and/or sexual behaviour or sexual references
Game refers to or depicts the use of drugs
Game contains depictions of, or material which may encourage, discrimination
These icons are designed to help parents choose what games are suitable for which age group, so make use of them, because they are very useful and will help you make the right choices when buying games for your children. Remember that they are there to help you. If you want to know whether a game you wish to bid on or buy on eBay has these ratings, look at the provided picture on the listing or ask the seller.