Watchdog group praises game ratings, criticizes parents

December 8, 2008

The National Institute on Media and the Family has given “A” grades to videogame organizations in their annual report card this year. Parents were given a grade of “incomplete.”

In its 13th report card, the institute awarded two “A” grades to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board for adding content summaries to its Web site that explain why a game earned a certain rating. A mobile-friendly site makes the summaries available to cell phone users. The ESRB received another “A” for its work promoting game ratings to parents.

The game industry also earned an “A” for family-friendly features like parental controls and play timers.

Parents received a grade of “incomplete” with an explanation stating that with all of the information and tools available, “parents need to pay more attention to the amount of time and the types of games their kids play.”

In 2007, the ESRB received a “B-“ grade, the game industry got a “C,” and parents also earned a “C.”

The institute also provides a buying guide for parents, which lists games like LittleBigPlanet, Rock Band 2 and High School Musical 3: Senior Year DANCE!. A “Games to Avoid” list includes Dead Space, Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead among others.