Published: 7th April 2020

Minister for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage, and children’s charities support BBFC initiative for homeschooling families to help keep children safe

Coronavirus is changing daily lives, and in facing the current crisis parents are finding themselves faced with the task of homeschooling their children to keep them safely indoors.

  • Free educational resources available on the BBFC website to help parents with homeschooling

  • Initiative supported by Government and leading charities, including Barnardo’s, PSHE Association and Childnet

  • Check the age rating and accompanying ratings info of BBFC rated films or episodic content on the BBFC’s website and free app

The BBFC has a range of free educational resources, case studies and tools available online, which can help children to access fun, interesting and age-appropriate material. The BBFC’s age ratings, ratings info and resources can also help families more generally choose content well, and avoid potentially distressing material. 

  • CBBFC is the BBFC’s dedicated website for children, which parents can use as a tool to help their children understand what content is right for them, how their choices affect them and those around them, and how to choose films and TV shows well. 

  • The BBFC’s Parents’ Guide to Age Ratings is designed to help parents and carers navigate content with their children. Films, TV shows and websites can make a huge difference in children’s lives, and for children’s healthy development and own sense of wellbeing staying safe online is crucial. 

  • Families can check the age rating and long ratings info - which describes in detail the category defining issues - for BBFC rated content on the BBFC website and free app, keeping their children safe online. 

  • Children can have a go at being a BBFC compliance officer, and rate a trailer themselves. Using the BBFC classification guidelines, children need to think critically about the content in the trailers, consider the audience, and can compare their answer with the actual age rating and ratings info. 

  • Written in partnership with the PSHE Association, the BBFC’s PSHE free resources outline useful ways for parents to use films to talk about films with their children. Parents can download free worksheets, discussion points and lesson plans. 

  • Parents can check out a round up of case studies on the BBFC website, which suggests films to watch and each gives insight into the classification process, as well as suggested discussion points so that parents can help their children begin to think critically about film. 

  • The BBFC has published a list of educational films and TV shows that are available to stream now on video on demand platforms. 

Faye Harcourt, Director of Education and Outreach at the BBFC, said: “We are here to help families and young people choose content well. In these difficult times, families are inevitably spending more time online — for homeschooling, entertainment or spending time together as a family. It is hard for parents to monitor closely what their children are watching online in normal times but now it is even more challenging.  For children’s healthy development and parents’ peace of mind, staying safe online and learning how to avoid content that might upset or disturb is crucial. 

“Our dedicated children’s website, CBBFC, has the tools to help parents understand how to keep children safe online and how to teach them to view content that is appropriate to their age. But also it has some fun resources which are enjoyable as well as educational. Film is a great medium to start getting your children thinking critically, as well as giving them an understanding of how what we watch affects us and the people around us.”  

This initiative and round up of free resources from the BBFC is welcomed by Government and children’s charities from across the UK. 

Minister for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage, said: "As we stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives, it is important that parents and children can access appropriate content for their age. The government is completely committed to internet safety and I am delighted to see initiatives like this support our work."

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: "The internet is a fantastic tool for parents who are homeschooling their children during the lockdown, and also for streaming their children’s favourite TV programmes at the end of the day. But with so much content available it can be difficult to know what is safe for children.

"The online world must be as safe as the offline world and we cannot expect children to protect themselves. It's vital that parents have discussions with their children about what is safe for them to watch and why. The BBFC’s website is a useful resource for parents to help assess what’s safe for their children and to help them start conversations at home.”

Sally Martin, PSHE Association Subject Specialist said: “With growing technological developments surrounding film and video content, young people are increasingly required to manage their own viewing habits. This is especially true at the moment, where families are spending more time indoors — watching films and media content online is a popular leisure-time activity. These BBFC resources give pupils or children in Year 5-6 (aged 9-11) the opportunity to discuss relevant scenarios, rehearse the skills of decision making and managing peer influence, and understand how age ratings can support safer choices around the media they consume.”

Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet International, said: “In these unprecedented times, where families are finding themselves indoors much more, it’s more important than ever to give children the skills they need to stay safe online. We know it can be challenging for parents to keep an eye on their children’s online habits, but these resources from the BBFC can help children make informed decisions about the content they choose to watch.”

The BBFC will continue to highlight movies on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels which are being broadcast that families in lockdown can watch together, with fun quizzes for children and parents alike.