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Do you want to know how the BBFC decide age ratings, and what's right for your children to view? Ask their expert - £300 voucher to be won

(133 Posts)
EllieMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 28-Feb-19 10:00:15

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has been responsible for age ratings for cinema for over a hundred years. Their classification symbols U, PG, 12A, 12, 15, 18 are well known to parents and children, and are used on DVD and Blu-ray, and increasingly on video on demand platforms like Netflix. Their decisions are based on a large scale public consultation, which takes place every four-five years and reflects changes in public mood. This month, the new Classification Guidelines - which sets out what is acceptable at each age category - are going live. Findings include heightened concern from parents and teachers around online content and a clear desire for more consistency, when it comes to age ratings and information, across all platforms. If you would like to find out more about the new guidelines please click here.

So, the BBFC’s Head of Education, Lucy Brett, is here to answer any of your questions.

Here’s what BBFC have to say: “Over the last five years the way we consume film and video has changed beyond all recognition. That's why it's so important that there is consistency between what people watch on and offline. Our research shows that both parents and teenagers want us to give them the information and guidance that they need to view what's right for them. We're here to listen to what people want, which is why they trust our age ratings.”

Here is a bit more information on Lucy Brett: “Lucy Brett is the BBFC’s Head of Education, and heads up the BBFC’s education programme. Ever year she speaks to thousands of children, teenagers and parents across every corner of the UK. Lucy hears directly about the concerns that young people have about films, how they would like classification to work and what the BBFC should be flagging and thinking about when making decisions. Lucy is also a mum of two, and her favourite film is True Grit”

Do you have a question for Lucy? Do you want to know what teachers think to age ratings? Do you have any questions about specific content that your child might have watched? Or maybe you have specific questions about what sort of content you might see in a 15?

Whatever your questions around the BBFC’s guidelines, post them below and we will choose 10 in total for Lucy to answer. Everyone who posts their questions will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!

Standard Insight T&Cs Apply

MrsFrTedCrilly Thu 28-Feb-19 12:15:45

Do you think it would make sense for BBFC to work with the games industry to ensure that all visual media (sorry can’t think of an appropriate catch all term Film/tv/DVD’s/games etc) ratings are equal?
I’m loathe to let my dc watch anything above their age rating, they feel very hard done by smile

SillyMoomin Thu 28-Feb-19 12:47:15

I think BBFC should also be branching into monitoring videos across different platforms, such as youtube / Facebook etc.

Just because it's not "traditional" video media such as cinema or a tv programme doesn't mean in this day and age it cannot be viewed.

Is it possible?

StickChildNumberTwo Thu 28-Feb-19 12:57:24

Are the age ratings guided by different categories of content? And are these easily available? I'm thinking of e.g. a child who is particularly sensitive to any scenes of violence and wondering whether there are ways to specifically screen out media that includes that, even if from an age point of view it might be rated OK for them.

JC4PMPLZ Thu 28-Feb-19 12:59:16

what do you think to the argument that age ratings are a blunt tool.Children mature at very different rates and to have a blanket rule does not really work.

Longtalljosie Thu 28-Feb-19 12:59:37

How can you make parents take video games ratings more seriously? I know parents who let their children play 15 rated games who would never dream of letting their children watch a 15 rated film, for example...

Asuwere Thu 28-Feb-19 12:59:37

Have the ratings changed much over the years, eg if something was rated 15 in say 1990, would it still be a 15 if rated today?

AdamNichol Thu 28-Feb-19 13:34:48

Are ratings dependant on current sensibilities or culture, and subject to shift? Or, for example, what is different about the current crop of Star Wars movies, rated at 12, against the originals, rated U to PG?

AdamNichol Thu 28-Feb-19 13:36:33

Why is explicit sexual activity much more liable to censor than explicit depictions of violent murder?

Tonsilss Thu 28-Feb-19 13:56:37

I'm often surprised by the amount of violence / killing in 12A films, and that swearing is taken much more seriously. Shouldn't it be the other way round? Eg I understand that "Touching the Void", which contains no violence, is a 15 because of 1 use of "cunt". Do you expect this to change under the new guidelines?

HannahLI Thu 28-Feb-19 14:01:01

I am always concerned about language in films, when there is bad language what rating would it be from? Should I expect there to be bad language in a PG?

JanuarySun Thu 28-Feb-19 16:08:18

Why does swearing seems to provide a much higher rating than violence?

treegone Thu 28-Feb-19 17:21:15

How do you talk to parents, teachers etc? In what ways do you approach them and get current views on what is age appropriate? I feel they are a good rough gauge from which I can form my own judgement from. How would you begin to shift your ideas of what is or is not appropriate when it was previously something else?

SushiGo Thu 28-Feb-19 18:23:04

Could there be a campaign to make it more clear that 12 and 12a are the same content? 12a is for the cinema and 12 for dvds?

Lots of parents seem to think 12a means not-much-worse-than-a-pg and this seems to mean a lot more 4yos at the cinema watching content they aren't supposed to.

Cotswoldmama Thu 28-Feb-19 19:15:43

I think it would be good for there to be a longer description of why a film has been rated how it has. With U and PG it’s less important but with a 12 or 15 I would want to know if it was because of violence or language. If it was suggested or if it was actually shown. I guess the best way to know is to watch everything before allowing my kids to so I can judge whether it’s suitable and discuss it with them.

sarat1 Thu 28-Feb-19 19:27:51

Can films that had previously been given ratings of PG back in the 80s that contain swearing (eg Goonies), or are particularly scary (eg Jurassic Park) be reclassed?

MrJollyLivesNextDoor Thu 28-Feb-19 19:48:08

How much difference is there between a U and a PG?

Our after school club recently gave away all their PG dvds due to some new guidelines meaning they can't now show any PG films to the children (much disappointment re Frozen etc!)

sharond101 Thu 28-Feb-19 19:56:57

What are the criteria for a film being pg ? I find some suitable for my children and some not.

Whereareyouspot Thu 28-Feb-19 20:30:42

I also feel violence should be taken MUCH more seriously.
Can’t get excited about swear words but I’m astounded at the level of violence allowed in a 12 or a 15.

Do you feel because modern society has got used to such graphic violence that we have lost track of how damaging it is to children?
Do you agree the level of what is accepted at each grading has altered over the last ten years significantly? Why is this? Kids are still vulnerable.

Have you seen a trend in film makers pushing the boundaries of what will be accepted?

And do you feel parents actually respect the classifications on the whole? Should we publicise more the harmful effects of film and visual media? Many parents I know don’t seem to care what the rating is and their kids watch what they want.

Theimpossiblegirl Thu 28-Feb-19 20:37:15

Why is The Snowman a PG?

CallmeBadJanet Thu 28-Feb-19 20:42:56

Could the BBFC link up with a site such as Common Sense media which gives two age classifications for a film, one recommended by parents, one by young people themselves.

IndigoDream Thu 28-Feb-19 21:28:56

I find the website by common sense media to be really helpful when looking into children's films. I would be really pleased if the BBFC provided a similar level of detail for parents: quickly indicating the level of positive messages in a film, as well as violence, swearing, consumerism etc. I think it'd be helpful if the current classifications (U, PG etc) could also show the level of these things.

ButterflyOfFreedom Thu 28-Feb-19 22:00:12

Is it correct that a PG is generally aimed at 8 year old & over?
So not necessarily suitable for 5/6/7 year olds...?


buckley1983 Thu 28-Feb-19 22:07:23

Like others - I wonder how the ratings are decided on. All children are so different in what they find upsetting - how do you decide the threshold for a PG & a 12A?
It would be really useful if bulletpoints of any potentially upsetting content appeared under the age rating. Parents can then use this as a quick reference guide when deciding if they feel their child would be ok with that particular film.

torthecatlady Thu 28-Feb-19 22:37:43

Do you think that simpler blanket classifications such as "kids, young teens, older teens and adults only" could work better to allow parents to make the right choices?

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