Kids want to emulate athletes. It’s why sports drinks use athletes in commercials. My daughter’s softball team faced a batter whose routine as she stepped into the batter’s box, resembled Nomar Garciaparra’s. It took forever for her to prep to take a single pitch, and she single handedly slowed down the game, but in her mind, she looked like a pro because she was acting like many of them. And just because they’re parents doesn’t mean adults aren’t immune to this either. An athlete may not sway an adult to buy a particular product, but they are more likely to get their attention, bringing them closer to getting the intended message across. This is what the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is counting on as they use athletes to help spread the word about video game ratings.
The San Francisco Giants, who we dearly love, have teamed up with the ESRB to encourage parents to use the rating system to determine whether individual video games are appropriate for their child. As part of the campaign, Bay Area radio and TV stations will soon begin airing a PSA featuring Buster Posey and Ryan Vogelsong reminding parents to use the ratings system. The PSAs will be shown at AT&T Park, as well.
Vogelsong and Posey are both parents, and Vogelsong says he still plays video games, but noted that not all games are right for everyone, thus the need to check out the ratings system. The ratings symbol is uniform across video games and features a large symbol, such as an E, meaning the game is fine for every age. ESRB uses 30 content descriptors noting violence, language, sexual content, and more, letting parents know to what the game will expose their child. As Ryan Vogelsong said, kids try to be sneaky, and the video game ratings help parents out, especially when a young kid is eagerly assuring them that a game rated M for mature is fine.
We were lucky enough to go to AT&T Park to meet Ryan and Buster, both of whom were the nicest guys, which is reassuring as a parent whose children idolize them because, unlike video games, idols don’t come with a rating system. We rely on the ratings system every time we buy video games for our kids, generally at Christmas or birthdays, but with summer coming up, kids are likely to use a good chunk of their free time to play video games, making this the ideal time to remind parents to check the ratings.