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BOX 8-1
ESRB Rating System

Rating Symbols

EARLY CHILDHOOD: Content may be suitable for ages 3 and older; contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.

EVERYONE: Content may be suitable for persons aged 6 and older; may contain minimal violence and some comic mischief or crude language.

TEEN: Content may be suitable for persons aged 13 and older; may contain violent content, mild or strong language, or suggestive themes.

MATURE: Content may be suitable for persons aged 17 and older; may contain mature sexual themes or more intense violence or language.

ADULTS ONLY: Content is suitable only for adults; may include graphic depictions of sex or violence. Not intended for persons under the age of 18.

RATING PENDING: The product has been submitted to the ESRB and is awaiting final rating.

Examples of ESRB Content Descriptors

Alcohol reference: reference to images of alcoholic beverages.

Animated blood: cartoon or pixilated depictions of blood.

Blood and gore: depictions of blood or the mutilation of body parts.

Comic mischief: scenes depicting slapstick or gross vulgar humor.

Drug reference: reference to images of illegal drugs.

Gambling: betting like behavior.

Mature humor: vulgar or crude jokes and antics, including “bathroom” humor.

Mature sexual themes: provocative material, possibly including partial nudity.

Nudity: graphic or prolonged depictions of nudity.

Strong language: profanity and explicit references to sexuality, violence, alcohol, or drug use.

Strong sexual content: graphic depiction of sexual behavior, possibly including nudity.

Suggestive themes: mild provocative references or materials.

Tobacco reference: reference to images of tobacco products.

Use of drugs: the consumption or use of illegal drugs.

Use of alcohol: the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Use of tobacco: the consumption of tobacco products.

Violence: scenes involving aggressive conflict.

SOURCE: Adapted from ESRB (2003).

rating board should classify any recording with unsuitable alcohol content, including name-brand reference of alcohol products, as appropriate only for “mature’ audiences. Using this approach for name-brand references would be analogous to the FTC’s recommendation that all films with paid alcohol placement receive an R or NC-17 rating (FTC, 1999). In conjunc-



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