When going to the cinema or buying a DVD or Blu-ray it’s easy to find guidance about the suitability of films and videos for children using the age classification – usually on the front of the box or cinema poster.
But with many films and videos seen online these guidance ratings are simply not used, or they’re not as visible. As a result it’s harder for parents to stay on top of what content is unsuitable, and potentially harmful to their kids.
Some online video platforms (like Amazon Instant Video/Prime Instant Video, Blinkbox, BT TV, or TalkTalk) ensure the material they serve apply the same categorisations for on and offline content.
Other platforms, such as Netflix and iTunes, go a step further and link parental controls categories to those age ratings, and any film on iTunes without an age rating is classified as adult content by default.
Although there are over 250,000 items of online content, ranging from full-length feature films to music videos, most online content remains unclassified.
What can parents do?
1. Choose a platform that carries official ratings
The BBFC is the national body that classifies film content, and their guidance ratings can be seen on some video platforms. A list of platforms that use these ratings can be found on the BBFC website.
2. Avoid pirate websites
Pirate websites are not at all regulated. Research carried out in 2013 by the Industry Trust found that one in five young film fans had been disturbed by the films they had watched on pirate websites, and two thirds wished they had checked the film’s official rating first.
3. Find information on specific films
Use sites such as FindAnyFilm.com where you can find information about all films, all legal, and all with age ratings and insight. You can also check the BBFC’s website or the free App for further information about individual films or classification more generally.
4. Contact the BBFC ratings board
If there are any issues you are at all concerned by, from what you have seen in a film or video, then let the ratings board know. They’re there to help you make informed choices to protect your children and ensure you have a happy family viewing experience.
- Read more about European online gaming classifications (PEGI)
- Read about the impacts of inappropriate content on your child and how you can deal with it