Age ratings for online music videos welcomed by parents

New research from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) reveals that 78% of parents value age ratings for online music videos. The research was carried out to evaluate a joint industry initiative to provide age ratings for music videos online.

The aim of the pilot was to help family audiences make informed choices on what videos were most age appropriate to watch.

The research also showed the following: 

70% of parents of under 12s are concerned about their children being exposed to inappropriate content in music videos

up to 60% of children say they have seen content in online music videos of which their parents would disapprove

given the choice, 86% of parents would encourage/ensure their children watch online channels with clear age ratings

75% of parents would like online channels to link music video age ratings to parental controls

David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC said: “The research shows parents perceive age ratings for online music videos to be almost as important as ratings for film and DVD/Blu-rays. Parents want more nuanced guidance about the content of the music videos their children are accessing online, with BBFC age rating symbols alongside BBFC insight content advice being the preferred form of labelling.

How are the age ratings applied to music videos?

The BBFC issues either a 12, 15 or 18 rating to online music videos, in line with BBFC Classification Guidelines. The BBFC also includes specific content advice, called BBFC insight, which explains in more detail why an age rating has been given: for example, that scenes include sexual imagery, violence or other content deemed inappropriate for younger viewers.  Once given an age rating, the labels pass on the rating and guidance when releasing their videos to the two digital service providers – Vevo  (a video hosting service) and YouTube, who, in turn, display it when the videos are broadcast online.

How will these age ratings affect online music videos in the long term?

After a successful trial of the pilot, the Government has announced that age ratings will become a permanent part of guidance given for videos produced in the UK by artists who are represented by major labels (Sony Music UK, Warner Music UK and Universal Music). The age ratings will be placed on videos hosted on YouTube and VeVo to help give parents the tools to make informed choices on what videos their children should watch. These ratings will only be applied to music videos produced in the UK.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI (British Phonographic Industry) and BRIT Awards, said: “We understand the concerns that many parents have about children viewing age-inappropriate content, we have coordinated an industry response and good progress is being made.  Record labels are working closely with the BBFC, YouTube and Vevo to ensure that music videos produced here in the UK display recommended age ratings when broadcast online so that families can make more informed viewing decisions.  The next step will be for the digital platforms to look more closely at the introduction of parental control filters, so that parents can use the ratings to screen out content they consider unsuitable.”

Additional Reading

If you’d like to learn more about other ways to ensure your child sees age appropriate content on entertainment platform, please visit:

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