British Board of Film Classification launches new age rating symbols designed for digital streaming platforms

BBFC’s aim is to give young people better and consistent guidance about film and TV content, enabling them to make conscious decisions about what they watch.

New research from the BBFC reveals, given their access to more media, that nine in ten (87%) of 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 would 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 says that its new digital classification symbols 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 has started rolling them out on the platform.

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 access the Guidelines and to read the BBFC’s announcement in full, click here.