How much do you know about the age restrictions on video games?

Posted by / Monday 13 August 2018 / Online Safety Parenting Tips Activities

“The UK has one of the most dynamic and innovative video games industries in the world, and the games they produce not only entertain millions, but can also educate and foster creativity.” - Ed Vaizey, Culture Minister

We can’t help but agree with Vaizey’s statement on the UK’s video game business. As it develops, it is proving to be a new way to bring out creativity and imagination in children, as well as social experience for families to enjoy together.

With the industry rapidly expanding, the choice of video games your child can play are seemingly endless. Because there is such a wide variety in games, it is important to know just what your child is gaining from these games and or what they may be exposed to.

Age restrictions and symbols on the back of the box are good indicators for you to decide whether the game is suitable for your child or appropriate for their age group.

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As of recent years, the age restrictions on video games throughout the UK have been legally and officially decided by Pan European Game Information [PEGI].

The PEGI system is based on 5 age categories and 8 content descriptors. These age categories are put into place in order to indicate whether a video game, app or other software product is suitable for children from a certain age.

The Age restrictions that PEGI puts in to play are based solely off of content and not difficulty.

Therefore, you could have a 3+ game that would be difficult for a child of three to master but has appropriate content for the age group, and an 18+ game that is fairly simple, yet has mature content.


On the back of each video game, PEGI will list a variety of symbols based on what contents the video game holds. Here are the symbols, followed by what they mean:


So, what do they mean? From left to right, the definitions are as follows:

  • May be frightening for younger children.
  • Contains the use or glamorisation of alcohol or drugs.
  • Contains depictions of nudity and/or sexual references.
  • Can be played online.
  • Can only appear on games rated 18, containing depictions of ethnic, religious, nationalistic or other stereotypes that could encourage hatred.
  • Contains bad and/or offensive language.
  • Contains depictions of violence.





If you are interested in finding out more about the UK video games that your children are playing, or weekly updates on family-friendly video games for kids of all ages, we recommend these sites for further information:

If you are wanting to go into further depth on the PEGI system and all that it entails, heading over to their website is a great way to gain more information on what they do:

Video games are an innovative way to expand your child’s education, creativity and imagination. You know your kid’s personality and characteristics better than anyone, therefore can make the best decision as to what is and isn’t suitable for them, but these restrictions are a way for you to have clearer guidelines on what your child is consuming and why the games that they are playing are rated the way that they are.

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