The BBFC Mobile Classification Framework allows commercial content supplied via mobile networks, that is unsuitable for people under the age of 18, to be put behind access controls.
The Classification Framework is also used to calibrate the filters used by the Operators to restrict access to Internet Content (i.e. content delivered by URLs) via mobile networks by those under 18.
The BBFC has created and will maintain the Classification Framework.
The Classification Framework is based on the BBFC’s Classification Guidelines which are the result of regular large scale public consultation as well as UK Law and credible media effects research.
The Classification Framework is a living document which adapts to reflect evolving public attitudes and societal concerns.
The Classification Framework does not cover the following:
- Apps. It is the responsibility of the Apps store provider to enforce their own terms and conditions
- Online advertisements. These remain the responsibility of the ASA.
- Sites which supply age restricted goods or services such as knives, fireworks, tobacco, legal highs, alcohol, gambling or adult entertainment unless any adult filters in place block on the basis of the types of content listed in Part B of this schedule. It is the retailer’s responsibility to utilise effective age verification systems when it comes to supplying customers with age restricted goods or services, and the relevant local Trading Standards service is responsible for the enforcement of this consumer related legislation
- UK political parties with representatives elected in local, regional, national and European elections
- Premium rate voice or premium rate SMS text only services, which continue to operate under the Phone-paid Services Authority Code of Practice
- VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). It is the responsibility of the VPN provider to enforce their own terms and conditions.
It is the Content Provider’s responsibility to ensure that none of the content subject to the Classification Framework contains any illegal material.
The Classification Framework operates a binary classification system. It defines what the BBFC considers suitable for adults only (i.e. those customers that are at least 18 years old).
Responsibility for the interpretation of the Classification Framework rests with the BBFC and is subject to normal considerations of fairness and reasonableness.
Content which is not defined in the Classification Framework will not always be suitable for all children. Some sites may be placed behind filters if they are a known method of circumventing parental controls.
There is no one determining factor which would lead to advice being given by the BBFC that particular content is suitable for adults only. The BBFC can take into account a variety of factors, including but not limited to the nature of the material and the public acceptability of a particular product or service in relation to those under 18. We may consider legal products or services, which children can commit an offence by using, to be suitable for adults only unless prominent warnings are displayed.
The context in which an issue (such as sex, language or violence) is presented is also central to the question of whether or not it is suitable only for adults. That context may either aggravate an issue (for example when language is used aggressively) or mitigate (for example comedy may soften the effect).
In addition to the content listed in Part B, the BBFC will also take account of content which directly promotes in a way which could appeal to children the depiction of smoking; drinking to excess. It will also take into account the portrayal of accurate instructional detail of novel criminal techniques which could be copied. In certain circumstances, such content may be suitable for adults only according to BBFC standards.
The following type of content is what the BBFC considers suitable for adults only (i.e. those customers that are at least 18 years old):
- Detailed and / or instructional references to suicide and self-harming, including ‘pro-Ana’ content
- Any other content that promotes self-harm or suicide by any technique
- Discriminatory language or behaviour which is frequent and / or aggressive, and / or accompanied by violence and not condemned.
- Language or behaviour which attacks a person or group on the basis of race, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation and is not condemned.
- Instructional portrayal of hard drug use or use of any easily accessible and / or highly dangerous substances (for example, aerosols or solvents)
- The promotion, glamorisation or encouragement of the misuse of illegal drugs
- Repeated / aggressive use of ‘c**t’
- All sex works. A sex work is a work whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation. These works need not contain nudity. The BBFC may consider certain ‘glamour’ works to be sex works. Please refer to the Q&A section for more information about ‘glamour’ material.
- Very strong references to sexual behaviour using strong pornographic terms
- Explicit images of real sexual activity (for example, masturbation, oral sex, penetration, ejaculation)
- Sexual activity with graphic detail (for example, sight of genitalia or non explicit images of masturbation, oral sex, penetration, ejaculation)
- Fetish material
- Detailed breast and genital nudity within a sexualised context unless the images (i) form part of a genuine sex education work aimed at minors and (ii) are present only for the purpose of education.
- Sex education and advice which is (i) aimed at adults and (ii) inappropriate for children.
Violence and Horror
- Strong sadistic, masochistic or sado-masochistic violence or torture against humans or animals
- A focus on graphic images of real injury, violence or death
- A dwelling on the infliction of pain or injury (for example, sadistic, masochistic or sado-masochistic violence, clear sight of bloody injury, explicit gory images)
- Detailed depictions of sexual or sexualised violence or threat (for example, rape, sexual molestation, the impending threat of sexual violence)
- Very gory images
- The promotion of real life violence (for example backyard wrestling, football hooliganism, gang violence, use of easily accessible weapons).