The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is launching new age rating symbols which, for the first time, are designed for digital streaming platforms - a move which will give young people better and consistent guidance about film and TV content, enabling them to make conscious decisions about what they watch.
Given their access to more media, 87% of teenagers feel the need to make more informed decisions than ever before
A third of teens (32%) say they see content they’d rather avoid on a weekly basis, leaving them feeling uncomfortable or anxious (46%)
The BBFC is launching new digital age rating symbols to help classify online content, launching on Netflix on Thursday 31 October
The BBFC urges streaming services to use their trusted new symbols to empower young people to watch what’s right for them
New research from the BBFC reveals, given their access to more media, nine in 10 (87%) 12-19 year olds want to make better decisions than ever before. Two thirds (66%) of young people resent the idea of being perceived as ‘boring’ or ‘sensible’ - something three quarters (74%) of adults admit to having thought.
Instead, almost all teens (97%) want more credit for being conscious decision makers, making informed and positive choices throughout all aspects of their life. The BBFC’s own research showed 95% of teenagers want consistent age ratings that they recognise from the cinema and DVD to apply to content accessed through streaming services.
A majority (56%) of teens are concerned about watching content without knowing what it contains - and say they want clear age ratings to guide them. A third of teens (32%) say they see content they’d rather avoid on a weekly basis, leaving them feeling uncomfortable or anxious (46%), and one in twenty (5%) saying it had a negative impact on their mental health.
The BBFC’s new digital classification symbols, launching on Thursday 31 October, will help young people to make conscious decisions when it comes to film and content on video on demand platforms. Netflix has welcomed the new symbols, and will begin rolling them out on the platform starting from Thursday 31 October. This builds on the ongoing partnership between the BBFC and Netflix, which will see the streaming service classify content using BBFC guidelines, with the aim that 100% of content on the platform will carry a BBFC age rating.
David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said: “It’s inspiring to see young people determined to make conscious and thoughtful decisions. We want all young people to be empowered and confident in their film and TV choices. As the landscape of viewing content changes, so do we. We’re proud to be launching digital symbols for a digital audience, to help them choose content well.”
The move empowers young people to confidently engage with TV and film content in the right way. Half (50%) of young people say having access to online content and the internet helps them have tough conversations or navigate tricky subjects, like mental health and sexuality, when talking to parents.
Jack, 12, from Peterborough said: “It's difficult to choose what to watch online as there is so much choice out there. I like to think about things before I watch them. Sometimes my friends watch stuff I don’t think is appropriate or I might find scary or it just isn’t for me. I could definitely make better decisions and avoid uncomfortable situations if age ratings were more clearly signposted.”
The BBFC is calling for streaming services to clearly label content with age ratings - and has this month launched its first set of VOD User Guidelines, developed in conjunction with video on demand platforms. These user guidelines outline how streaming services can help people by offering clearer, more consistent and comprehensive use of trusted, well understood, BBFC age ratings to support ‘Generation Conscious’.
The BBFC commissioned Studio AKA to produce a short animation, showcasing the new age rating symbols, to help families help view what's right for them. The film is currently being played nationwide in cinemas until Sunday 3 November.