Family Gaming on Mobile Devices

 In Blog, Console, Handheld, Advice, PEGI, Law

With tablets and smart phones becoming ever more powerful it is no surprise that video games are as at home on there multifaceted gadgets as they are on dedicated handheld consoles. Because of this it is important to understand Age Rating systems for iOS, Windows Phone, Android and Blackberry phones as well as the broader PEGI ratings applied to console and handheld games.

In addition to our links for Parental Controls on these devices, here is more information about how the different systems work.

Apple iOS Age Ratings

Apple rates games based on their content to specify the appropriate age group. You can control access to particular rated games by selecting Settings > General > Restrictions > Allowed Content: Apps.

The age ratings are as follows:

4+: Contains no objectionable material.

9+: May contain mild or infrequent occurrences of cartoon, fantasy or realistic violence, and mild or infrequent mature, suggestive, or horror-themed content which may not be suitable for children under the age of 9.

12+: May contain frequent or intense cartoon, fantasy or realistic violence, mild or infrequent mature or suggestive themes, mild or infrequent bad language, and simulated gambling which may not be suitable for children under the age of 12.

17+:May contain frequent and intense realistic violence, frequent and intense mature, horror, and suggestive themes; also strong sexual content, nudity, strong language, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs which may not be suitable for children under the age of 17.

Windows Phone Age Ratings

WP7 follows parental the controls that are set up on the primary Windows Live account linked to the phone. If a child is using a device you can set up Parental Controls on your PC and then log in with their account the first time you use the device. This enables you to set time limits, age restrictions and block specific programs.

The Windows Store that provides software for Windows Phone devices rates game content under the following criteria.

3+: These apps are appropriate for young children. There may be minimal comic violence in non-realistic, cartoon form. Characters should not resemble or be associated with real life characters. There should be no content that could be frightening, and there should be no nudity or references to sexual or criminal activity. Apps with this age rating also cannot enable features that could access content or functionality unsuitable for young children, such as uncontrolled online sharing of information such as that described under the 12+ ratings category.

7+: Apps with this age rating have the same criteria as the 3+ applications, except these apps can include content that might frighten a younger audience and can contain partial nudity, as long as the nudity doesn’t refer to sexual activity.

12+: Apps with this age rating can contain increased nudity of a non-sexual nature, slightly graphic violence towards non-realistic characters, or non-graphic violence towards realistic human or animal characters. This age rating might also include profanity, but not of a sexual nature. Also, apps with this age rating or higher may allow for uncontrolled: (i) access to online social networks, or (ii) sharing of personal info with third parties, including other gamers or online acquaintances.

16+: Apps with this age rating can depict realistic violence with minimal blood, and they can depict sexual activity. They can also contain drug or tobacco use and criminal activities, and more profanity than would be allowed in a 12+ app, within the limits laid out in section 5 of the certification requirements.

Adult content: Content that is intended for adults-only audiences, and apps that have received an adults-only rating by a ratings board, cannot be listed or sold in the Windows Store.

Android Phone Age Ratings

Games in the Android store are rated with the Google Play system, which consists of four levels: Everyone, Low maturity, Medium maturity and High maturity. These can be used to restrict access via Parental Controls.

The following guidelines are used by developers when they classify their content.

Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs: Apps that contain illegal content are not permitted in Google Play. Apps that include references to drugs, alcohol or tobacco products must be rated “Medium maturity” or above. Apps that primarily focus on the consumption or sale of drugs, alcohol or tobacco must be rated “High maturity.”

Gambling: Apps that facilitate real gambling are not permitted in Google Play. Apps with gambling themes or simulated gambling must be rated “Medium maturity” or “High maturity.”

Hate: Hate speech is not allowed in Google Play. Apps that contain inflammatory content must be rated “Medium maturity” or “High maturity.”

Location: Applications rated “Everyone” must not ask users for their location. Apps that access location data must be rated “Low maturity” or above. Apps that publish or share users’ location with others must be rated “Medium maturity” or “High maturity.”

Profanity and Crude Humor: Apps that include profanity or crude humor should be rated “Medium maturity” or “High maturity.”

Sexual and Suggestive Content: Pornography is not permitted in Google Play. Apps that include suggestive or sexual references must be rated “Medium maturity” or “High maturity.” Apps that focus on suggestive or sexual references must be rated “High maturity.”

User Generated Content and User to User Communication: Apps rated “Everyone” must not host any user generated content or enable communication between users. Apps that focus on allowing users to find each other and communicate should be rated “Medium maturity” or “High maturity.”

Violence: Apps that contain mild cartoon or fantasy violence must be rated “Low maturity” or above. Apps that contain realistic or intense fantasy violence must be rated “Medium maturity” or “High maturity,” and those that contain graphic violence must be rated “High maturity.” Gratuitous real violence is not allowed in Google Play.

Blackberry Age Ratings

Blackberry App world applies an age rating system. By setting up Content Controls on your Blackberry phone you can ensure younger players do not access inappropriate content. The follow restrictions are available:

Adult (18+): Show all items

Mature (17+): Show general, teen and mature items

Teen (13+): Show general and teen items

General: Show items suitable for all ages

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