New Ratings for Online Games
I've started and deleted this article four times since last Thursday, because it just did not sound right. I know that sounds lame, but I try to write posts that have life and character, and the first 4 attempts felt like a badly-written public service announcement. So here's my last attempt.
Shares Location: The game may share your location with other players. For example, in Team Fortress 2, some servers show the country of origin for the players.
Shares Information: The game shares personal information (such as email address) with third parties. I suggest reading the fine print on games that have this icon to learn what information is shared with whom.
Users Interact: The game allows the players to interact with each other through online chats, user-generated content (e.g. mods), or online messaging (typed messages). To be honest, the ESRB description makes it sound as though you'll be exposed to something horrible by all the "unfiltered/uncensored" content. But my own experience is that most mods are marked as to their content by the mod creator, and while some people might use vulgarities when chatting during a game, they will clean up their language if a kid is on the chat. My daughter plays Team Fortress 2 occasionally, and the only time someone used a vulgarity she told them that she was 10 so they needed to watch their language. The person apologized.The symbols for the Interactive Elements are: