Published: 30th March 2022

BBFC publishes parents' fact sheet on online pornography & age verification

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has today unveiled an ‘Online Pornography and Age-Verification’ fact sheet - a free, downloadable educational resource for parents, caregivers, and educators. The resource has been welcomed by some of the BBFC’s charity partners.

Dame Rachel de Souza, The Children’s Commissioner for England, said: "I am delighted to support the publication of this brilliant resource from the BBFC, and welcome their invaluable expertise in this area of online pornography and age-verification. This fact sheet is an excellent tool to help parents and carers when embarking on these difficult conversations with their children, and provide a useful accompaniment to our guide 'The Things I Wish My Parents Had Known'. We all have a duty to protect children from harm and that extends to the harm they may be exposed to online."

Lynn Perry MBE, Chief Executive, Barnardo's, said: “We know from our direct work across the UK that viewing pornography online can harm children’s mental health and their understanding of consent and healthy relationships. Whilst we continue to call on pornography companies to do more to protect children and to remove illegal and harmful material from their sites, it is vital that we support parents, carers and educators with comprehensive factsheets from experts like this one so that they are fully informed about the types of content children might be at risk of seeing”.

This visual infographic is designed to guide and inform parents about online pornography and age-verification. It offers practical and research-based advice and tools to equip them when navigating difficult conversations with young people, with the wider aim of encouraging best practice at a nationwide level. 

The fact sheet comprises a wide range of necessary and important information to help support children as they journey into the increasingly complex digital world. The resource focuses on what the BBFC’s research shows about young people’s access and exposure to online pornography, the resulting impact on children, whilst also highlighting the importance of parents speaking to their children about how to stay safe online. 

It encompasses evidence-based factual information alongside helpful hints, answering questions such as:

  • At what age do children first see pornography?

  • Where do children see online pornography?

  • What sort of things are they seeing?

  • What impact does early exposure to pornography have on children?

  • How can parents protect their children from online pornography?

  • What is age-verification?

  • How can parents talk to their child about online pornography?

This free and digestible resource is available for parents and caregivers to download here. Additional relevant resources are signposted, such as: Childnet, Internet Matters, NSPCC, and The Children’s Commissioner’s Office.

The BBFC is a recognised expert in online pornography and its impact on young people, with statutory responsibility for the regulation of pornographic content released on physical media formats in the UK. The release of this infographic follows the BBFC’s previous research into young people’s interactions with, and attitudes towards, pornography, which was published in 2020. Further information can be found here.

Parents' fact sheet - online pornography and age-verification

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