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What is PEGI?
The PEGI system is designed to inform the public of what’s suitable and what’s not for different ages. It can be a helpful tool in helping you to decide what games are appropriate for your child.
PEGI’s professional analysts look at hundreds of video games every year and determine what is suitable for different age groups using a set of criteria.
This criteria has been established by experts in the field of child protection, psychology, the law and media. It helps analysts to decide what game content is appropriate in each of the five rating groups.
How are games rated under PEGI?
All games released in the UK will have one of the following PEGI age ratings on the packaging: 3, 7, 12, 16 or 18. The rating means that the game shouldn't be played by a young person under that age.
Why? Because there may be content within the game which could potentially be harmful, frightening or worrying to children. As well as an age rating, PEGI also uses icons showing content descriptors, letting you know if a game contains: violence, drugs, bad language, discrimination, fear, gambling, sex, or in-app purchases.
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Gaming consoles and apps
The VSC Rating Board rates online games for all the major consoles, and works with other authorities to give ratings to apps on many platforms such as Google Play and Microsoft Store.
For apps, the Board provides content information as well as details about:
- whether they contain in-app purchases;
- whether the app can identify your child's location.
It’s important to consider age ratings for these platforms, as well as games bought from a store.
As well as numerical PEGI ratings, you'll see the ‘Parental Guidance Recommended’ rating for some non-game apps. The rating serves as a warning that these apps can contain user made or edited content, so it’s best to take a look at the app to see how it’s being used. Typically, this applies to products such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
Other factors to consider:
- You may have introduced boundaries at home about when and what type of games your child is allowed to play. Remember to talk to your child about these rules and set out expectations if they stay with family friends or child care.
- Encourage your child to talk to you about the games they play and how they feel after playing them. Children are sometimes frightened by games but won’t tell anyone in case they take the game away. While children are still learning to distinguish between reality and fantasy, it’s important to talk to them about what they see in games.
- If your children are playing games online don’t forget that you can also set parental controls on many devices to give you extra piece of mind. The VSC website offers full instructions on how to set parental controls for the most popular devices.
One final piece of advice: if you’re worried about children playing video games on their own, then why not join them? AskAboutGames.com is a fantastic resource for advice on gaming as a family.