The current classification systems for video games are first attempts at protecting children from the real or imaginary influence of potentially harmful contents. These systems, however, are based on questionable principles, for two reasons. First, analyzing the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) and the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) from a pedagogical point of view, one cannot but notice that they are inherently flawed by contradictions and confusion of different perspectives. Second, these contradictions increase the difficulty for parents who buy video games to understand the rating. This is a considerable drawback, as parents and child caregivers should be the primary targets of such rating systems. This article offers a critical examination of the European PEGI and the North American ESRB rating systems, and, starting from this analysis, suggests improvements that could make video game rating systems more appropriate in terms of their function as parental guidance.
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