Wow, the ratings actually work if parents actually recognize them? Get out of town.

According to a recent ESRB-commissioned study, parents have become more restrictive over the games their children play, primarily due to the ratings (source: IGN ). The results showed that 60% of parents with underage children "never" allow them to play M-rated titles (good call), while 34% let them play the Mature games "sometimes" (still too high). In case anybody needs more reminding, the "M", or "Mature," rating, means the game is restricted to those aged 17 or older. But the results are clear: parents are starting to learn.

"Awareness and use of the ratings is clearly continuing to rise to considerably high levels, still showing steady growth from where they were just a few years ago," said Jay Campbell of Peter D. Hart of Research Associates, the firm that conducted the study. "What is quite telling is that the number of parents who say they 'never' allow their children to play M-rated games rose as those who 'sometimes' do declined. This suggests that parents are becoming more assertive in using the ratings to set and enforce restrictions with respect to the games they allow their children to play."

The study revealed several other interesting stats as well, including the fact that almost 90% of parents with kids who play video games are aware of the ESRB ratings (which is up from, what, 1% a few years ago?). Lastly, 73% of parents have reported checking the ESRB's rating before they rent or purchase a game for their children. It's just more evidence of a vastly increased "awareness rating" for parents in the U.S.

"It's extremely encouraging that the vast majority of parents are involved and informed when it comes to choosing which games are appropriate for their families," said ESRB president Patricia Vance. "The ratings continue to be a very important, if not the most important tool to help parents make an informed decision, and it's clear that parents are using and relying on them in growing numbers."

We have just two things to say to all this- 1. Good. 2. It's about damn time.

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