What is a PEGI Rating?
If your child asks to watch a film at the cinema or at home, you look at the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) rating to check if it is suitable, so why would you not check the rating of the games they want to play?
Just like films, games have ratings to help you decide if the content is suitable for your child. This is based on their age, not their gaming ability.
PEGI stands for Pan European Game Information. It looks at seven different categories to decide on a suitable rating.
What does it mean to me?
As a parent, the first practical step you can take to protect your children from gaming-related harm is to ensure that you understand and adhere to the PEGI age ratings that accompany every game.
What are the ratings?
PEGI ratings exist to ensure that children and young people are not exposed to harmful, adult content and the rating system clearly presents the minimum age your children should be before they can play the game, and gives an overview of the potentially harmful content they will be exposed to if you allow them to play the game.
A common misconception with PEGI ratings on video games is that they merely act as a guideline to its difficulty as you would see on board games such as Monopoly. As a parent, it is vital to understand that this is not the case. PEGI 12, 16 and 18 ratings have been legally enforceable in the UK since 2012 and should not be played by anyone under that recommended age.
Video games have come a long way from being simply the fun distractions of Mario or Sonic. Although these bright and fun types of games are still hugely popular, many of the most played games today present realistic and graphic adult experiences and stories. As with a BBFC 18 rated film, the content can include such elements as graphic violence or sex, drug use, adult themes and even gambling mechanics. As games are immersive and interactive by their very nature, allowing your child(ren) to experience an unsuitable game could potentially cause a greater harm than if they were to say stumble across an unsuitable scene on television.
You may have heard your child talk about games such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, God of War, Red Dead Redemption or The Witcher; but did you know they are all rated PEGI 18 and only to be played by adults?
PEGI bases its rating on the following categories:
- Bad Language
PEGI ratings and what they mean
|Age rating||What this means||Content descriptors|
|The content of games with a PEGI 3 rating is considered suitable for all age groups. |
Games with a PEGI rating of 3:
|Games with this category should not contain any sounds or pictures that are likely to frighten young children.|
A very mild form of violence is acceptable. No bad language should be heard.
|The content of games with a PEGI rating of 7 is considered suitable for children over the age of 7.|
Games with a PEGI rating of 7:
|Some of the content may frighten younger children. It may contain very mild forms of violence (such as non-realistic violence)|
|The content of games with a PEGI rating of 12 is considered suitable for children over the age of 12.|
Games with a PEGI rating of 12:
|Games may contain mild bad language, sexual innuendo or sexual posturing. Violence is of a more graphic nature, for example realistic violence towards human-like characters.|
|The content of games with a PEGI rating of 16 is considered suitable for young people over the age of 16.|
Games with a PEGI rating of 16:
|Games may contain mild bad language, sexual innuendo or sexual posturing. |
Violence is of a slightly more graphic nature, for example realistic violence towards human-like characters.
|The content of games with a PEGI rating of 18 is considered suitable for people over the age of 18.|
Games with a PEGI rating of 18:
Call of Duty
Grand Theft Auto
|As young people enter adulthood, so do the games. Gross violence, motiveless killings and glamorisation of using illegal drugs and explicit sexual activity will also feature.|
This information is taken from the PEGI website. For additional information on age ratings please visit PEGI
PLEASE NOTE For games downloaded through Apple store the ratings are slightly different. Apple uses their own rating system so it is best to check their site to ensure the content of the app your child downloads is suitable. For further information please visit https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/pegi-ratings/id1419963034