A contentious week continues...
The National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) has released a statement critical of the Annual Video Game Report Card issued on Tuesday by the National Institute on Media and the Family.
According to the PTA, "The 10th Annual MediaWise Video and Computer Game Report Card, released yesterday by the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF), contained erroneous statements about National PTA's position on the Entertainment Software Rating Board's (ESRB) rating system. In fact, National PTA does not endorse NIMF's report. Further, it does not agree with the reports characterization of ESRB and its rating system."
"National PTA works with groups like the ESRB to provide information about the rating system to assist parents and children so they can make an informed decision in purchase and game play. National PTA continues to ensure parents are informed and retailers enforce the rules. "
With nearly 6 million members, the National PTA is the largest volunteer parent organization in the United States. So what is the PTA concerned about? The Annual Video Game Report Card was highly critical of the ESRB, awarding the ratings board a grade of "F". The report card mentions the PTA in this paragraph:
"In response to the ESRB's recent failure, the National Institute on Media and the Family will convene a summit next year on video game ratings with the leading national organizations dedicated to children's health and welfare, including Children Now, the National PTA, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. We plan to issue and endorse a set of ratings recommendations."
The ESRB was naturally pleased. President Patricia Vance told GamePolitics, "The ESRB greatly values the support expressed by the National PTA. It is in the best interests of parents that we find ways to work cooperatively in educating the public about the ESRB ratings, and the National PTA is a pivotal partner in that regard."
Confused? You're not alone. GamePolitics has received information that may provide a bit of context on the PTA-NIMF story. A knowledgeable source cautions that it would be hasty to conclude that the PTA would rather see a ratings board controlled by the video game industry over an independent one. What's more, the PTA has supported various bills aimed at restricting the sale of M-rated video games to underage children. In California, for example, the state PTA was very active in promoting Leland Yee's recent successful game legislation. According to our source, it could simply be that NIMF did a very sloppy job in conveying its message. By mentioning that the National PTA would participate in a video game ratings summit, NIMF created the impression that the organization endorsed all of the NIMF report's conclusions.