Industry publishing giant Activision has announced plans to launch a program aimed at helping parents better understand the ESRB ratings and the games their children are playing.
The program, as outlined by the Call of Duty and Guitar Hero publisher, is called "The Ratings Are Not a Game" and will be supported by staff at the Center for Mental Health and Media at Massachusetts General Hospital. The purpose of the initiative, as reported by GI.biz, is "to help parents make informed decisions on the games children play, as well as promote the ESRB."
The program will consist of seven videos, each of which will cover a different aspect of videogames and those who play them. The first video will explore how games can be used to help teach children puzzle-solving techniques (here you go Bobby, have a copy of Professor Layton) and the one after that will teach parents how to identify appropriate games for their children.
"I'm pleased to partner with Activision on this initiative, and applaud their consideration for parents' concerns," said Dr. Cheryl Olson, co-director of the Center for Mental Health and Media.
"As a parent myself, I know there are so many things to worry about and not enough time, especially during the holiday season ... these videos give practical research-based advice on how to help your kids - and your family - get more out of videogames, and how to watch for and limit electronic gameplay."
Okay, I know Activision is the current Big Bad Wolf in the industry, and an entity that gamers love to despise. But I'm hard-pressed to find anything in this initiative that could be turned around against the company. The more parents are informed about games and how the ESRB works - and the more they get involved with the games their children are playing - the less likely it is that we'll have some wacko nutjob show up on Fox News railing about the horrific gay orgy scene in Mass Effectinged.
Some games shouldn't be played by children, and if Activision is taking steps to help parents learn about the industry and the ratings that are there for a reason... what could possibly be wrong with that?