Video Game Ratings System Gets Low Grade

DECEMBER 1, 2005 -- There's a ratings system to make sure age appropriate games end up in young hands. But according to the National Institute on Media and Family, the system doesn't work. The institute gave it a grade of D+.

The group, with the backing of a powerful senator, wants to revamp the current ratings system to keep kids from getting the wrong message.

"It's a crime to sexually abuse or rape a woman. Yet repeatedly in these video games the players are being rewarded for doing exactly that," says Senator Joe Lieberman.

The group blames retailers for selling sex and violence-drenched games to people under the age of 18. A notable exception, however, was Best Buy. The electronics chain gets an A+ for 100 percent enforcement of ratings restrictions.

"One of the policies is that every mature rated game that goes to the register is prompted for, just like for tobacco or alcohol," says Jason Stolfer, a manager with Best Buy.

"I believe it's up to the parent. Of course you're not going to be there all the time, but I think a lot of it could be stopped by parental guidance,"says Angie Parks.

The game makers are trying to help out as well. Sony's Playstation 3, coming out next year, will have parental controls. So will Nintendo's new console. Xbox 360 already has it.

For now the parents and the retailers will continue to be the key enforcers of the ratings system.

Reported by Sarah Warlick