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NIMF Commends FTC Report, Calls For 'Universal Ratings'

NIMF Commends FTC Report, Calls For 'Universal Ratings'

April 13, 2007 | By Jason Dobson

April 13, 2007 | By Jason Dobson
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The non-profit National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) has issued a statement concerning the recent FTC report on restricting sales of mature games to minors, commending the FTC on its findings, which NIMF officials note illustrate the need for parents to have more access to information about content and ratings of video games and other media.

Specifically, NIMF congratulated the FTC on its recommendation that video game packages need to have content descriptions "prominently placed" on the front, rather than printed on the back of the package as it is today. The organization also lauded the idea of a "universal rating system" across video games, movies, and music in order to help parents decide what is and is not appropriate for their children.

The 140-page FTC report gave the games industry high marks in rising awareness levels of the ESRB system, and showed that "significant progress" has been made in the game industry in limiting TV ads for mature games during teen-oriented programming. However, the report conceded that there is still much work left to be done.

NIMF officials noted that the organization was "pleased to see that children were increasingly unable to purchase M-rated games at major retailers," and that these finding echoed those released by the organization last November. "Retailers, especially specialty video game shops, need to continue to be vigilant and keep these inappropriate games out of the hands of minors," wrote the NIMF statement.

The NIMF organization is well known for its strong belief that the ESRB ratings board is not doing a good job in policing the game business, and was significantly active in the controversy over the now infamous Grand Theft Auto 'Hot Coffee' mod. In addition, the group also highlights issues annually within its MediaWise Video Game Report Card, in which the group breaks down what it sees as potentially serious issues within the video game industry, and alerts parents regarding what games are and are not appropriate for children.

The statement concluded: "The National Institute on Media and the Family and the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) share the goals of educating parents on the rating systems, but it also encourages the ESRB to adopt the FTC's recommendation on the labeling of video games. Parents need full-disclosure on the content of video games."


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