A study commissioned by the Entertainment Software Rating Board indicates that 90 percent of American parents who have children who play videogames are aware of the ESRB rating system, while 85 percent use the rating regularly when buying games for their families.
The figures are higher than those found in the same study when it was conducted in 2006, which indicated an awareness rate of 83 percent, while 74 percent of parents used the system for gaming purchases.
55 percent of the respondents said that the ratings were "very" helpful in determining which games were suitable for their children, while 69 percent said the ratings were either "very important" or "most important" when making the selections. Aside from the ESRB ratings, the top three sources of parental gaming information were game packaging, other parents, and their children.
The ESRB is a non-profit, self-regulatory body, created by software industry trade group, The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), that provides ratings for videogames in order to assist parents in determining appropriate content for their children. While the system is voluntary and non-legislative, virtually all major American retailers cooperate with the ESRB to support ratings education among parents, as well as to enforce policies restricting the sale of M and AO-rated games to children.
"It's extremely encouraging that the vast majority of parents are involved and informed when it comes to choosing which games are appropriate for their families," said ESRB President Patricia Vance. "The ratings continue to be a very important, if not the most important tool to help parents make an informed decision, and it's clear that parents are using and relying on them in growing numbers."