Entertainment Software Rating Board Interactive


Entertainment Software Rating Board Interactive

The Entertainment Software Rating Board Interactive (ESRBi) was a branch of the Entertainment Software Rating Board which existed from 1998 to mid 2003 which rated websites and online games.

Overview

ESRBi issued ratings providing information on the age appropriateness of a site, as well as information regarding the site's content.

ESRBi objectively labeled and provided information with regard to age appropriateness and content on each rated website. When used with an enabled, PICS-compatible browser, ESRBi users could screen rated sites based on their preferences. In any case, ESRBi provided reliable information that can be used by consumers when deciding whether to access rated areas.

If an entire website was rated, the ESRBi rating icon was located on the home page of the website. If only a section of the website is rated, the icon will appear on the first page of the rated web page section. If only an online game or interactive arena is rated, the rating will appear where the interactive arena or online game is accessed. The disclaimer, "The content of this site/page/game may change due to interactive exchange" must accompany any usage of the ESRBi icon.

Process

Ratings are generated by raters, randomly selected from a demographically diverse pool, who independently review the submitted materials and the site and generate a consensus rating based on ESRBi rating criteria. ESRBi raters are trained intensively in evaluating interactive entertainment content and are totally independent of the industry.

ESRB/ESRBi Issues Ratings in Two Areas on the Internet:

"Contained Areas" receive the traditional ESRB ratings. These areas, known as Finite Space Arenas, are websites that allow no interaction between website and user. These would also include sites where users can leave messages, comments or E-mails, but there is no exchange of content or other information that could influence suitability of use. In addition, such sites do not allow users to advance to a more controversial or sophisticated level.

"Interactive Sites" receive the ESRBi interactive rating icon. These areas, known as Free Space Arenas, provide opportunities for users to engage in an interactive experience. These may take the form of an entertainment site (i.e., game) with another interactive option (i.e.- bulletin boards, chat rooms, additional participants). Sites where users can influence or create content are classified as interactive and represent a "Free Space Zone" where there is less control. The "i" added to the ESRB label denotes websites that may contain chat rooms, bulletin boards and/or any space that can provide open forums, interactive exchanges, or access of information for users which result in an ever-changing environment on the net. Any person who is about to participate in this kind of site is cautioned by the new symbol ("i") to be aware that the user can exchange information with other users who may have differing and/or controversial opinions, or who may influence game play.

Ratings

Early Childhood Interactive - Websites and online games rated "Early Childhood Interactive (ECi)" have content that may be suitable for persons ages three and older. Everyone Interactive - Websites/webpages and online games rated "Everyone Interactive (Ei)" have content that may be suitable for persons ages six and older. These sites will appeal to people of many ages and tastes. They may contain minimal violence, some comic mischief (for example, slapstick comedy), or some crude language. Teen Interactive - Websites/webpages and online games rated "Teen Interactive (Ti)" have content that may be suitable for persons ages 13 and older. Sites in this category may contain violent content, mild or strong language, and/or suggestive themes. Mature Interactive - Websites/webpages and online games rated "Mature Interactive (Mi)" have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. In addition, these sites may include hate speech, more intense violence and language and more mature sexual themes, than products in the Teen category. Adults Only Interactive - Websites/webpages and online games rated "Adults Only Interactive (AOi)" have content suitable only for adults. These sites may include graphic depictions of sex and/or violence. Adults Only sites are not intended to be viewed by persons under the age of 18.

Content Descriptors

*Comic Mischief - Scenes depicting slapstick or gross vulgar humor.
*Mild Violence - Mild scenes depicting characters in unsafe and/or violent situations.
*Violence - Scenes involving aggressive conflict.
*Graphic Violence - Explicit images or content that depict extremely violent acts. May contain blood and/or gore.
*Nudity - Visuals which depict the human form:
**"Technical Nudity" - Of a medical or health related nature.
**"Artistic Nudity" - Museum pieces, sketches of the human form.
**"Nudity" - Erotic or sexually explicit images.
*Suggestive Themes - Mild provocative references or materials.
*Mature Sexual Themes - Provocative material, possibly including partial nudity.
*Strong Sexual Content - Sexually explicit images or content.
*Mild Language - Mild references to profanity, sexuality, violence, alcohol, or drug use.
*Mild Lyrics - Mild references to profanity, sexuality, violence, alcohol, or drug use in music.
*Strong Language - Profanity and explicit references to sexuality, violence, alcohol, or drug use.
*Hate Speech - Discussions involving stereotypes, racial epithets, bigotry.
*Strong Hate Speech - Extreme discussions involving stereotypes, racial epithets, bigotry. May include physical violence.
*E-Mail - Non-verifiable info only. Site requests E-mail address.
*Personal Information - Site requests personal information (i.e., Name, Address, Age).
*Survey Information - Site asks census type questions (i.e., How many people live in your home).
*Financial Information - Site requests bank or credit check information.
*Advertising - Site contains advertisements.
*Transactions and Purchases - Purchases can be made. Credit cards accepted.
*Direct Expenditure - Expenditure from a pre-agreed fixed ceiling account, bank account, credit card.
*Potential Sensitive Areas:
**"Weapon Making" - Instructions related to the making or development of bombs and/or weapons.
**"Suicide" - Discussions involving suicide, cults, etc.
**"Intolerance" - Maligns one group and/or advocates discriminatory treatment of its members (no physical violence).
**"Gambling" - Discussions and/or depictions of games of chance for money or some other stake.
**"Alcohol" - Discussions and/or prominent images of alcoholic beverages depicted.
**"Drugs" - Discussions and/or prominent images of pharmaceutical, hallucinogenic and/or illegal drugs depicted.
**"Smoking" - Discussions and/or prominent images of tobacco related products depicted.
*Informational - Content provides data, facts, resource info, reference materials or instructional text.
*Edutainment - Content provides user with specific skills, development or reinforcement learning.

References

* [http://web.archive.org/*/http://www.esrb.org] - ESRB's website, archived at Internet Archive
* [http://www.esrb.org/privacy/sites.jsp Websites Certified by ESRB Privacy Online]
* [http://www.wisconsin.gov/state/consumer/entrt258.pdf Guide to: Entertainment ratings]


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