This topic is for Q&As arranged by MNHQ. If you have questions about the site and how it runs, please do post in Site Stuff topic. If want to know about Q&A opportunities, please mail sales@mumsnet.com.

Are you worried about what films your kids are downloading? Post your questions to expert at BBFC - ANSWERS BACK

(38 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 08-Aug-13 10:31:43

This week we're running a Q&A with Lucy Brett, Head of Education at the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), who will be answering questions about how you can ensure your children are accessing films safely and legally online.  Post your questions to Lucy before midday on Thursday 15th August and we'll post up her answers on 29th August.
 
An online survey commissioned by The Industry Trust for IP Awareness, in partnership with the BBFC, shows that just under half of children surveyed will be spending an hour each day watching films via smartphones and tablets during the summer holidays. While children admit to being aware of rules in place in the home designed to restrict what they can and can?t watch on the internet, a quarter download or stream movies from unofficial sources, which offer no guidance on age ratings. A third of younger children aged 11-12 admit to having recently downloaded or streamed a film rated 15 from a pirate website. 
 

gazzalw Thu 08-Aug-13 15:52:24

Not sure that this is a very helpful comment by me but I seem to recall that way back when I was a tween/young teen, many peers went to see 15 and 18 certified films when they were way younger. 'Saturday Night Fever' is the one that really springs to mind. Given that teenagers have always been doing this type of illicit activity, should we as parents really be that concerned?

That sounds as if I'm a 'slack' parent. I'm not. DS hasn't seen anything older than a 12A and he's 12 (nearly 13) - he doesn't download/stream movies on his own. Although I'm wondering whether we've allowed him to watch any inappropriate films with us in the evenings?

Perhaps it might be worth putting the ratings for films in TV guides etc....?

I am not entirely sure that teenagers would be teenagers if they didn't try to watch 'inappropriate films.'

diamond211 Thu 08-Aug-13 16:40:18

My daughter knows she is only allowed to watch age appropriate films, however my concern is the way they are rated these days by the BBFC.
I am no prude but am shocked by the graphic content and language that is now seen as the norm for a 15 certificate film.

It is very difficult for me to say that she is not allowed to see certain films when legally it has already been decided that it is appropriate for her.
I also know that many younger children are watching these wholly inappropriate films (some of her friends have younger siblings that watch them) and have heard them quote inappropriate lines from them!

I know it is for parents to ultimately decide what their children can and cannot see and to block access to age inappropriate films but is is so much harder to tell them that a film is not suitable for them when the film 'rating' says that it is.

Ultimately I think the BBFC needs to take a long hard look at film classification and re-evaluate what is acceptable for certain age groups.

I agree that some film ratings have surprised me, the recent Superman film being an example. There was no bad language, no sex etc, but the violence was pretty excessive, and it has a 12A certificate. I'd like to know how that was appropriate for a child to watch.

apprenticemum Thu 08-Aug-13 20:04:20

My Daughter gets films from VIOOZ and MEGASHARE. I have no idea if they are legal sites and if not,what the consequences might be. I would be grateful for enlightenment.

AyUpMiDuck Fri 09-Aug-13 13:57:37

I used to worry about my 13 year old son seeing inappropriate content in film but I think this is the least of the problem. IMHO it is the Music videos on YOU TUbe and on music channels which are graphic and unsuitable for young eyes. The content is seemingly uncensored and unclassified and leaves very little to the imagination and promotes gratuitous sex and poor images of relationships. Likewise the language used is filthy. I sound like a grumpy old woman but really it is just so pervasive and unecessary.

Nerfmother Fri 09-Aug-13 17:49:56

Tbh I think it's a bit of a losing battle. Classification needs to be joining forces with Internet and you tube so that there is a consistent standard. After ds age ten and rigorously subject to only PG or 12a films asked if I'd seen chuckie, I sort of realised it was very hard to police. Any thoughts on joined up thinking?

Anyexcuse Fri 09-Aug-13 23:03:41

I'm more worried about the classification given to films than I am about what my kids are downloading. All kids, above about 10, know swear words and the odd 'fuck' gets a 15 rating yet the sexual content of some '12's' is just hard to understand. I'd much rather my kids heard some swearing than watched, albeit slightly off-screen, someone wanking into a jar in 'The Back-up Plan'. Much easier to explain that 'fuck' etc is a rude word that shouldn't be used in polite company than to explain what's going on in some romcoms.

SunnyIntervals Fri 09-Aug-13 23:35:47

I am very worried about the classifications too. I think 15 films I've seen have been really scary sad

Oblomov Sat 10-Aug-13 06:53:19

I dont quite understand the question. Why would I have any concerns about what films ds was accessing online? Do you mean what he is able to access, that is getting past the parental controls, we have set up?

All the other points made, re recent superman, more importantantly, YouTube and music videos, they are MUCH more of a concern.

SunnyIntervals Sat 10-Aug-13 06:59:18

Good points about music videos. A soft play near us has them on during sessions, so under 5s are subjected to quite a bit of steamy content confused

Tee2072 Sat 10-Aug-13 10:08:10

My son is too young for this to be an issue, but I don't really understand the question either. It's almost as if there's a paragraph missing in the OP.

I do think film classifications need to be reviewed, however, with more detail as to what they mean, not just on, say, the BBFC website, but on the actual rating, i.e. rated 12A due to cartoon violence.

EATmum Sat 10-Aug-13 14:01:15

I'd applaud the work that the BBFC put into analysing films so there is always good guidance available for parents to make informed decisions about whether a film is suitable or not. My husband writes a film blog, and includes some parental guidance (whether it's suitable for children, and if so, points that you might want to think about/be aware of as a parent), and I know he uses the BBFC guidance (as well as his own knowledge as a parent) to inform this.
My bigger concern, like others, is the classification system and its bias. We seem to be far more concerned about swear words than violence, and that seems insane to me. I was really cross that Made in Dagenham for example, was given a 15 certificate simply because of the swearing.
That's a movie that I want my daughters to watch, because it's really important and essential that they know about. I appreciate that everyone has different views about this - but the casual stereotyping/sexism in most movies and the accepted levels of violence don't seem to affect the ratings at all. I can tell my daughters not to swear relatively easily - but when the aspect that is damaging is implicit and accepted in the film, it's far harder to respond to the influences on your children.
And to answer the original point, I'm not worried about what my children download here, because they'd have to do it with us around - but I have little control about what happens at other people's houses, so it would be good if that could be better controlled I guess.

I find its not just the music videos, my eldest son, 5, walks around singing about sexy ladies ( gangnam ) rude boy are you big enough ( rihanna ) fricking awesome an sheets that smell of piss ( thrift shop ) even if the radio version plays pssssss it still sounds like hes swearing. Nearly every song now is about sex, violence or swearing. As for you tube, he watches mindcraft walk throughs, i've had to turn them off as they are full of swearing, as are mario and harry potter walk throughs. None of which you have to log in to watch.

FreddieJones Sat 10-Aug-13 22:27:35

Sorry new to mums net - on iPhone how do I start new thread ??

enderwoman Sun 11-Aug-13 17:58:18

I agree that there is a problem. Id appreciate it if films on TV or services like Netflix showed a rating for films before a movie like they do at the cinema. Maybe TV movies should show that screen after each break to protect kids as there seems to be no proper watershed anymore.

enderwoman Sun 11-Aug-13 18:02:23

Id appreciate ratings on YouTube too. My 6 year old loves watching people play minecraft and these range from harmless fun to very sweary so I have to vet what he watches. I'd also like pop ups and banner ads to be age appropriate. My children have seen inappropriate ones on age appropriate websites like free gaming ones.

Ditto to what diamond211 said. DD has very restricted viewing anyway, but I do worry about what is deemed "age appropriate".

But as others have pointed out - there is a lot of inappropriate stuff out there that doesn't need to get past censors. I remember when DD was born and I was stuck on the sofa breastfeeding, at 9.00 a.m. the music channels were showing Lady Gaga and Beyonce doing soft porn.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 15-Aug-13 14:53:48

The Q&A is now closed and we'll be sending over the questions to Lucy later today. We'll upload her answers next Thursday.

RebeccaSMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 22-Aug-13 10:14:32

Hi everyone,

We now have the answers back from Lucy Brett at the BBFC, and I will be posting them up shortly.

LucyBrettBBFC Thu 22-Aug-13 11:30:24

gazzalw

Not sure that this is a very helpful comment by me but I seem to recall that way back when I was a tween/young teen, many peers went to see 15 and 18 certified films when they were way younger. 'Saturday Night Fever' is the one that really springs to mind. Given that teenagers have always been doing this type of illicit activity, should we as parents really be that concerned?

That sounds as if I'm a 'slack' parent. I'm not. DS hasn't seen anything older than a 12A and he's 12 (nearly 13) - he doesn't download/stream movies on his own. Although I'm wondering whether we've allowed him to watch any inappropriate films with us in the evenings?

Perhaps it might be worth putting the ratings for films in TV guides etc....?

I am not entirely sure that teenagers would be teenagers if they didn't try to watch 'inappropriate films.'

I know children watching films that are rated above their age might not be a new phenomenon, but what we’re wanting to draw attention to with this campaign is the fact that children today are able to access films on the internet via pirate websites, which do not carry BBFC ratings or guidance and could lead to children watching something that it meant for much older kids unintentionally.

Added to that, films on illegal file-sharing websites can be deliberately mislabelled so children could be accessing all kinds of upsetting content.

Kids themselves are also telling us they’re upset by what they’re seeing and wish they had checked the age rating first. So it’s important to start them young, and make sure they know where to access films safely and legally online.

In terms of what you watch with your son at home, each child is different and you know best what he’s likely to enjoy or is able to cope with. This is why we created BBFCinsight information for all films – to allow parents to make informed decisions.

Some newspapers and TV guides do include the BBFC age rating but it’s not mandatory. Also some TV on demand platforms do carry BBFC age ratings – you can find a list of these on our website (http://www.bbfc.co.uk/what-classification/digital-age-ratings). If you are using a guide or platform that doesn’t include BBFC age ratings, you can use FindAnyFilm.com to find BBFC age ratings and BBFCinsight.

LucyBrettBBFC Thu 22-Aug-13 11:31:51

diamond211

My daughter knows she is only allowed to watch age appropriate films, however my concern is the way they are rated these days by the BBFC.
I am no prude but am shocked by the graphic content and language that is now seen as the norm for a 15 certificate film.

It is very difficult for me to say that she is not allowed to see certain films when legally it has already been decided that it is appropriate for her.
I also know that many younger children are watching these wholly inappropriate films (some of her friends have younger siblings that watch them) and have heard them quote inappropriate lines from them!

I know it is for parents to ultimately decide what their children can and cannot see and to block access to age inappropriate films but is is so much harder to tell them that a film is not suitable for them when the film 'rating' says that it is.

Ultimately I think the BBFC needs to take a long hard look at film classification and re-evaluate what is acceptable for certain age groups.

Firstly, it’s great that your daughter knows to check for BBFC ratings. The BBFC uses large scale public consultation exercises, carried out every 4-5 years, to create Classification Guidelines that are in step with general public opinion. We adjust these standards and criteria in response to any changes in public attitudes, so our ratings are very much the result of what audiences are telling us, but some people’s expectations vary on certain issues, like strong language or violence for example. This is why we provide BBFCinsight information, so it’s clear what type of content you can expect to see in each film and help you make informed decisions for you and your family before watching a film.

As you know, the 15 is an age restricted category, rather than advisory and it is more robust as a result, so we test carefully during our Classification Guidelines consultations to ensure we’re in step with broad public opinion about what is acceptable at 15. You can read our guide to 15 at: www.bbfc.co.uk/what-classification/15

LucyBrettBBFC Thu 22-Aug-13 11:32:55

quietbatperson

I agree that some film ratings have surprised me, the recent Superman film being an example. There was no bad language, no sex etc, but the violence was pretty excessive, and it has a 12A certificate. I'd like to know how that was appropriate for a child to watch.

The 12A certificate was introduced in response to parents telling us that they felt some children under 12 were equipped to deal with films rated 12. After extensive public consultation and research the 12A was introduced to allow parents to decide whether to take their children or not. When we rate a film 12A we still think it’s most suitable for 12 year olds and older.

It’s important that you have the information available to gauge what your children can watch. Some children might be fine watching fantasy violence, for example, whilst others might be more sensitive to it but enjoy watching more realistic drama. To help adults make this decision, we provide BBFCinsight for all films which explains in detail what you can expect to see in a film.

It’s always difficult when an age rating surprises us, which is why we make sure everyone can find out about a film before they see it. This is the BBFCinsight for the most recent Superman film, Man Of Steel www.bbfc.co.uk/releases/man-steel-2013-5. BBFCinsight is usually available ten days before a film is released in cinemas.

LucyBrettBBFC Thu 22-Aug-13 11:33:39

apprenticemum

My Daughter gets films from VIOOZ and MEGASHARE. I have no idea if they are legal sites and if not,what the consequences might be. I would be grateful for enlightenment.

These websites aren’t legal sites, they are illegal streaming websites. It’s good that you’ve spotted this and can have a conversation with your daughter about the risks involved of using these type of sites.

Unlike legitimate film websites, pirate websites offer no guidance on age ratings leaving your daughter at risk of viewing content that’s too old for her. Files from file-sharing sites can also be deliberately mislabelled so she could be accessing upsetting content unintentionally.

Using illegal sites and file-sharing programmes can be risky – they expose users to the risk of computer viruses and pop-up adverts that can be difficult to get rid of. File-sharing software can also compromise your privacy and security putting things like your bank details and other sensitive information at risk
.
There are reliable websites out there you can use to ensure she’s using sites that are legal and carry BBFC age ratings information. FindAnyFilm.com is a good example, it was set up by the film industry so only carries legitimate content and it uses BBFC age ratings and BBFCinsight information. To verify if a website your daughter is using is legal or not, enter the URL into the search box on TheContentMap.com, which provides a directory of legal websites for film and TV.

LucyBrettBBFC Thu 22-Aug-13 11:34:36

AyUpMiDuck

I used to worry about my 13 year old son seeing inappropriate content in film but I think this is the least of the problem. IMHO it is the Music videos on YOU TUbe and on music channels which are graphic and unsuitable for young eyes. The content is seemingly uncensored and unclassified and leaves very little to the imagination and promotes gratuitous sex and poor images of relationships. Likewise the language used is filthy. I sound like a grumpy old woman but really it is just so pervasive and unecessary.

When it comes to online, we know there's a lot of difficult content out there and with cinema films and DVDs, sex and nudity is treated very carefully. At the moment music TV channels are regulated by Ofcom and it's not a legal requirement for music videos online to be classified by the BBFC. Some DVDs of music videos are also exempt from being classified by the BBFC under the Video Recordings Act (VRA), but recently a Government review of the VRA has suggested that any DVDs that would be rated 12 or higher by the BBFC should be classified, to help keep parents informed and to protect younger or vulnerable children. This change in the law is expected to come into force in 2014.

The change being made to the VRA doesn't cover music videos online, but we would be happy to classify these, in accordance with Reg Bailey's recommendation, if this is what the industry and Government asked us to do. We're also working with the Dutch media regulator NICAM to test a rating tool for all types of online videos. The tool would let members of the public fill out a short questionnaire each time they watch a video and an age rating would be given depending on their answers. This would be used as a guide for other viewers, and for parental control systems.

The music industry does use an 'explicit content' label on CDs and DVDs and on digital music and video services such as iTunes and YouTube for content produced and published in the UK. Videos uploaded outside of the UK aren't covered by this, but the music industry in the UK is in discussion with Internet Service Providers, record companies and websites that display music videos, about incorporating 'filters' that would allow parents to prevent access to explicit music content online.

The record industry ? represented by the BPI ? is continuing its conversations with a number of digital service providers to seek their adoption of the scheme and to encourage all services marketing to UK consumers to use the label.

YouTube also has a great safety centre so you can block certain types of content ? have a look at their parents? guide - https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2802272

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now