Game Ratings: Kids Virtually Protected

Studies show most teens are protected from "mature" video games.

Nov. 25, 2008 — -- This holiday season, thousands of kids will be parked in front of television screens with a video game controller firmly in their grasp and virtual action playing out on the screen.

For those parents worried about the type of action playing out on the screen -- anything from cartoonish racing to ultra-realistic murder -- the 13th annual Video Game Report Card came out this morning with good news: The industry's voluntary rating system seems to be working.

According to the report, the industry's rating system, which grades games based on graphic violence and suggestive content, has made it more difficult for teens to buy video games rated "mature" than to get into an R-rated movie.

"The industry has really responded to calls we have made over the years," said David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family. "The retailers are now enforcing the ratings better than ever before."

The study also found that games promoting fitness are now almost as popular as violent games.

But for as much progress that has been made, there is still a long way to go. According to Walsh, one in five teenagers can still buy an M-rated game.