At the VSC Rating Board we are committed to providing as much helpful information as we can about video game ratings.  We can’t tell you how good, bad or indifferent a video game might be, but we will supply detailed content information (the amount and type of violence, bad language, sex, etc, in a game), so that you can be absolutely certain you are making the correct purchasing decision. Use the 'search for games' function above to find out more information about a particular game.
 
If you want to be more involved with your children's game playing then you might want to take a look at
 
Ask About Games answers questions parents and players have about gaming, offering advice on how to play games safely and responsibly.  It also offers families helpful tips to ensure they get the most out of the games they enjoy together.
  
REPORTING INAPPROPRIATE GAMES AND APPS

As you are aware, many games and apps carry a PEGI age suitability rating to show how appropriate a game or app is for a particular age group. However, if you’ve come across either a game or app where you think there is a content issue that seems out of line with the rating, then do get in touch with us by reporting the item directly to helpdesk@pegi.info. We will need to know the name of the game or app and its rating, what the problem is exactly and where you bought the game or app from. This way we can instigate immediate action to resolve the problem. We will, of course, keep you informed of any action taken.

PEGI 3

 
The majority of games in this category do not contain anything that requires rating or warrants a content warning. Games given this rating are considered suitable for all age groups.
 
Some violence in a comical context or child-friendly setting is acceptable, as is nudity when shown in a completely natural and non-sexual manner such as breast feeding.

 PEGI 7

 
Any game that would normally be rated at 3 but contains some possibly frightening scenes or sounds may be considered suitable in this category.
 
A little more violence is permissible at PEGI 7. It is always unrealistic and often directed towards fantasy characters, though very mild non-realistic violence to humans may also feature. Implied violence (for example the bombing of a city where violence is not seen directly) is also dealt with at this level.

PEGI 12

 
At a PEGI 12 level more graphic and realistic looking violence towards fantasy characters is allowed. Any violence towards human characters must look unrealistic unless it consists of only minor or trivial injury such as a slap.
Sexual posturing of the type often seen in music videos is also allowed at this level as is sexual innuendo.
 
Some bad language is allowed but it can be no more than mild swearing.
PEGI 12 is the minimum rating a game which teaches or encourages gambling can receive, though the descriptor also appears on PEGI 16 and PEGI 18 games.
 
A game at this level may feature horror content such as strong threat and dread or graphic injury details.

Parental Guidance

 
In addition to the numerical PEGI ratings, you will also see the ‘Parental Guidance Recommended’ rating for some non-game apps, introduced by PEGI for storefronts that use IARC (https://www.globalratings.com/). This serves as a warning that these apps can offer a broad variety of user generated or curated content. Typically, this applies to products such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

PEGI 16

 
At the 16 level you can expect to see more mature and realistic violence against human characters. The game may deal heavily with death and injury to humans. 
 
Sexual activity can be shown but it must not include visible genitals. Depictions of erotic nudity may feature.
 
The worst forms of bad language can be heard and will often include sexual expletives.
The use of tobacco and alcohol may be encouraged, and the game can feature the use of illegal drugs. The game could glamorise crime.

PEGI 18

 
The adult classification is applied when the level of violence becomes gross. Gross violence is classed as horrific methods of bringing death or severe injury, including torture, decapitation or dismemberment.
 
Violence against vulnerable characters such as children and the elderly may feature, along with motiveless violence against multiple innocents. Sexual violence and threat are also classified at PEGI 18.
 
The game may include detailed descriptions of criminal techniques, or it may glamorise the use of illegal drugs.
 
Sexual activity with visible genital organs can be shown.
 
Online Safety
 
Online gaming is a fun and exciting way to relax so it is no surprise that over half of 8-15 year olds are playing. The variety means that there is something for everyone to enjoy but there can also be risks. Luckily there are things you can do to help keep children safe and make gaming fun.
 
 
Understanding the risks
Not everyone that children play with in games will be nice. Some users are verbally abusive towards others or will try to steal and destroy the player’s virtual possessions. Not all players are children either and some adults will use games to try and groom young people. There are things you can do to help protect children.
 
 

Finding age appropriate games
 
Age ratings are an essential tool to help assess whether a game is suitable for children. It’s important to remember though that age ratings are based on the content of the game and not whether you can access the internet and talk to other people. Children can talk to others through the game itself, console networks such as Xbox Live, external chat sites such as Skype, or gaming forums. It is a good idea to check out the game first before letting younger children play. The VSC Rating Board is the national regulator for video games providing PEGI ratings and ACI (Additional Consumer Information) for each game. Use the ‘search’ facility on our website to find the ACI for a game or rated app. If you want to hear what parents' think of a game, take a look at askaboutgames.com for reviews. You can also find parents' and children’s opinions on some of the most popular gaming apps on the NSPCC and O2’s Net Aware.
 
 
Conversations  
It is important to have regular conversations with children about staying safe online, and gaming is no different. Let children know to tell a trusted adult if they see or hear anything in games that they find upsetting. Help them to understand that the people they meet in games may not be who they claim to be and explain why they should not give out personal information or photos. If they choose to play games with people that they don’t know, remind them not to take the conversation off the game, such as onto a social network or into a private chat.
 
 
If you would like more information about keeping children safe online, take a look at the NSPCC’s online safety advice here.  If you’re interested in how children access and use contemporary media, take a look at the latest Ofcom report on media use and attitudes here.