BBFC: age ratings for online content

You may recognise the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) age-rating symbols from the cinema. Their CEO, David Austin explains how they're guiding families online

At the BBFC, we age-rate content using our classification guidelines, which are based on large-scale UK public-opinion consultations. More than 10,000 members of the public, including parents and teenagers, contributed to the most recent guidelines, published in 2014.

Video on demand

The major video-on-demand (VOD) platforms also use our ratings, with Amazon, iTunes and Netfl ix all carrying BBFC age ratings for fi lms, as well as for their own content, such as House of Cards on Netfl ix and Mr. Robot on Amazon.

Protecting children on their mobiles and tablets

All the UK’s major mobile phone operators restrict access to material based on the BBFC’s guidelines, with any content accessed via 3G or 4G that the BBFC would rate 18 or higher being placed behind adult filters. All phone contracts in the UK come with these filters automatically activated. Pre-paid phones are also filtered at device level by all major UK phone operators.

Age verification of online porn sites

Under the terms of the Digital Economy Act, due to come into force in spring 2018, the BBFC is named as the preferred regulator to be given the role of ensuring commercial pornographic services most likely to be visited by UK children are employing robust age verification to protect them from potentially harmful content. Guidance will be published about these new regulations before they come into force.

For more about PEGI ratings, visit www.videostandards.org.uk

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