The ESRB has joined with Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch to launch a campaign aimed at improving awareness of videogame ratings among parents in the state.
The new campaign explains the ESRB rating system, and encourages parents to check ratings before purchasing games for their children. The public service announcements will run on both television and radio, and will feature Lynch and his two children. Lynch was joined by ESRB President Patricia E. Vance and Rhode Island PTA President Steven Furtado at a press conference launching the program.
"Before children and teenagers grab the controls to play a videogame, we're asking parents to control the types of games their kids play by checking the game's rating," Lynch said. "Most parents routinely check the ratings of movies before taking of allowing their children to see films, and I'm honored to join with ESRB to ask parents to use that same level of vigilance concerning videogames."
"While many parents are aware of the ratings and are making sensible game purchases as a result, there is always more than can and should be done. Working with ESRB, we hope that these ads will help arm parents with the information they need to make the right choices when purchasing videogames," he added.
The ESRB has recently made efforts to raise its profile among both parents and legislators in the U.S., joining with companies such as Ingram Entertainment and Good Housekeeping in recent months as well as political figures Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman in programs intended to raise awareness of videogame ratings among parents with young children. A recent study has shown that a large majority of parents make use of ratings when purchasing games, but despite that and initiatives such as the joint ESRB-Rhode Island program, the agency faces stiff resistance in other states, which claim industry self-regulation is inadequate and should be replaced by state or federal legislation.
"Just like movies and TV shows, videogames are created for a diverse audience of all ages," Vance said. "That is why it's so important that parents and adults remember to check the rating when purchasing games for children. We are very proud to have the support of Attorney General Lynch in reaching out to Rhode Island's parents to raise awareness of the ratings and urge parents to use them when buying or renting games."