PEGI is the system by which games and apps are age rated to provide guidance to parents as to whether they are appropriate for their children. The PEGI rating considers the age suitability of a game, not the level of difficulty. It's ratings are the suggested MINIMUM AGE at which a game should be played.
For the quickest access to information on all games, which is incredibly useful if your child comes home from school saying "Can I download THIS game that x or y or z has. It's amazing! Please, please, please!!!!" you can download the free PEGI app allowing you to make a first check on the game. You can then cross check on www.netaware.org and www.commonsensemedia.org for further information about the detail of the game/app.
It's useful to understand the categories before you start. The categories are:
PEGI 18 - suitable for ages 18+
The adult classification is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it becomes a depiction of gross violence, apparently motiveless killing, or violence towards defenceless characters. The glamorisation of the use of illegal drugs falls into this category too. 18 games may also contain explicit sexual activity (intercourse) - check for the SEX content descriptor.
PEGI 16 - suitable for 16+
This rating is applied once the depiction of violence (or sex) reaches a stage that looks the same as would be expected in real life.
PEGI 12 - suitable for 12+
This category includes violence towards fantasy characters or non-realistic violence towards human-like characters, sexual innuendo or posturing, mild bad language and/or gambling.
PEGI 7 - recommended for ages 7+
Game content with scenes or sounds that can possibly frightening to younger children and very mild forms of violence (implied, non-detailed, or non-realistic).
PEGI 3 - recommended for ages 3+
Content is considered suitable for all age groups.
PEGI also uses 7 "CONTENT DESCRIPTORS" to help you further with deciding what is appropriate for your child - these are particularly helpful to identify individual features within games which you may want your child to avoid. The descriptors are: Violence, Bad Language, Fear, and Discrimination. Here is the shortest summary we could make!
SEX - PEGI 12 = sexual posturing or innuendo, PEGI 16 = erotic nudity or sexual intercourse without visible genitals, PEGI 18 rating = explicit sexual activity in the game.
VIOLENCE - In PEGI 7 games violence = non-realistic or non detailed. PEGI 12 = violence in a fantasy environment or non-realistic violence towards humans, PEGI 16 or 18 = increasingly realistic violence.
BAD LANGUAGE - in PEGI 12 = mild swearing, PEGI 16 & 18 = swearing + sexual expletives
FEAR - PEGI 7 = frightening pictures or sounds for young children, PEGI 12 = horrific sounds or horror effects (but without any violent content).
GAMBLING - Can only apply to PEGI 12, 16 or 18 = the game contains elements that encourage or teach gambling.
DRUGS - The game refers to or depicts the use of illegal drugs, alcohol or tobacco. Games with this content descriptor are always PEGI 16 or PEGI 18.
DISCRIMINATION - Used if the game contains depictions of ethnic, religious, nationalistic or other stereotypes likely to encourage hatred. This content is always restricted to a PEGI 18 rating (and likely to infringe national criminal laws).
Parental Control Tools
Parental control tools allow you to protect your children's privacy and online safety according to various parameters. You can select which games children are allowed to play (based on the PEGI age ratings), limit and monitor their online spending, control access to internet browsing and online interaction (chat), and set the amount of time children can spend playing. A full list of parental controls on ALL devices and how to set them is found here.