Parent’s Guide to Video Games for the Holidays

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Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and GameStop Explain How to Choose Appropriate Games and Use Parental Controls

Interviews with Patricia Vance, President of the ESRB and Eric Bright, VP, Merchandising at GameStop

According to the latest data from the Entertainment Software Association, video games are a $43.4 billion industry. Over 164 million adults in the United States play video games, and three-quarters of all Americans have at least one gamer in their household.

With the holidays coming up, video games are likely to appear on the gift lists of children of all ages – but not all games, are intended for children. So, how can parents choose games that are appropriate for their families? 

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) offers a clear and easy to understand rating system that incorporates Rating Categories, Content Descriptors and Interactive Elements to help parents make educated decisions. 

To make it even easier this year, the ESRB is working with retail partners to help familiarize parents with parental control settings on consoles and other devices. provides consumers with step-by-step instructions for setting controls that can block games by age rating, limit how much time is spent playing, help control spending and restrict communication with other players.

Patricia Vance, President, ESRB, and Eric Bright, Vice President, Merchandising, GameStop, discuss:

  • Popular video games for the holiday season;
  • How best to use the ESRB rating system; and
  • How to use parental control tools to ensure children enjoy appropriate games, especially when Mom and Dad aren’t around.

This video is provided by GameStop and ESRB.

About Eric Bright: 

Eric Bright is Vice President, Merchandising GameStop Corporation, the world’s largest video game retailer that offers the best selection of new and pre-owned video gaming hardware, accessories and software, in both physical and digital formats. Eric leads the Merchandising team in developing and supporting the organization’s overall merchandising strategy related to the successful selling of the multiple gaming hardware and software platforms and accessories available in the market today. Eric brings more than 20 years of buying, product development and marketing expertise to GameStop. Prior to joining GameStop, he managed the multibillion-dollar video game and consumer electronic teams for several retailers, including Walmart, Hollywood Video, Movie Gallery, and Blockbuster. Eric was named “The 8th Most Powerful Person” in the video game industry by Kotaku magazine (2012) based on his leading Walmart’s $2.5billion dollar video game business.

About Patricia Vance: 

Patricia E. Vance is the president of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). In her position, she leads the teams responsible for assigning age and content ratings to video games and apps, enforcing marketing guidelines adopted by the video game industry, and operating ESRB Privacy Certified, an FTC-sanctioned COPPA Safe Harbor Privacy seal certification program. Patricia also serves as founding chairperson of the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC), a non-profit organization that operates a ground-breaking global rating and age classification system for digitally delivered games and apps, and as chairperson of the Family Online Safety Institute, a non-profit membership organization based in Washington, DC. 

About the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB): 

The ESRB is the non-profit organization that assigns age and content ratings for video games and apps so parents can make informed choices. As part of its self-regulatory role for the video game industry, the ESRB enforces guidelines that ensure responsible advertising and marketing practices. Its ESRB Privacy Certified program is a full-service online and mobile privacy program that helps companies maintain compliance with the growing complexity of privacy protection laws in the United States and beyond. ESRB was established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

Here is a link to a guide written for parents with little or no technical knowledge to help parents combat these threats and keep their children “Internet Safe” –