This article was contributed by Video Standards Council

The Video Standards Council and Games Rating Authority adminster the PEGI games rating system in Europe. The PEGI system helps parents to guide their children to appropriate games suitable for their age group.

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Choosing the right video games for your children

Tearaway Unfolded

Tearaway Unfolded: a creative game suitable for children aged 7 and over

If you’re a parent, chances are your children will have asked you for a video game. But unless you’re a gamer yourself, how do you know which titles are appropriate for their age group and personality?

We asked Andy Robertson, editor of FamilyGamerTV, to explain the PEGI rating system for us, and to look at the content of some of the games your children will ask for, to help you make an informed decision…

Video-games bring a lot of benefits with them. Alongside entertainment and enjoyment, they enable players to visit other worlds, create ambitious constructions, discover new sports and hobbies and interact with people all over the planet.

However, distinguishing what different games present in terms of benefits or dangers in the family can be a challenge. Unlike films and books, you can’t quickly skim through to assess what your children will be experiencing.

The PEGI ratings are the mandatory way all UK video-games helpfully disclose this information for consumers. Each publisher completes a questionnaire and submits game footage to the Games Rating Authority about its game then determines the age rating it gets.

The PEGI ratings offer a traffic light system of age ratings. Games suitable for over 3s and over 7s are flagged with a green age icon on the box. Games only suitable for those over 12 or 16 are flagged with an orange age icon, and games only suitable for the over 18s have a red age badge.

On the back of the box are another set of icons that depict why the game got a certain age rating. This may be for ‘Language’, ‘Violence’, ‘Drugs’, ‘Fear’ or other reasons. Further information is then available on the PEGI website and Games Rating Authority website

Websites like Ask About Games make things easier by presenting this information in Quick Guide videos that describe what benefits and dangers the game has, along with footage of game-play depicting the experience. This is a really useful resource for parents who want to investigate game content.

Understanding the PEGI ratings enables you to make informed choices about the games you purchase. This not only avoids unexpected negative aspects of unsuitable games, but helps connect you with games that your family will get the most from.

Parental controls

For help setting parental controls on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PS Vita, PSP, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U, go here and click on 'Controls' at the top of the page. Parental controls can be set up to specify which PEGI ratings can be played on each console.

PEGI ratings

For a full explanation of the PEGI ratings, click here.

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