BBFC to take public opinion on suitable content


The British Board of Film Classification started a six-week consultation process as at Friday 1st March 2013. They will ask members of the public to fill out an online survey in order to assess what people think about the current standards of movie certification.

The BBFC is responsible for awarding all movie certificates in the United Kingdom, be it in the cinema or for home media content, and undertakes such a survey every 4 – 5 years in order to ensure that its guidelines are in keeping with public attitude as to what is suitable in movies for each age certificate.

The BBFC website states “It is important that the BBFC’s classifications are in line with what the public expects and that its decisions take account of what the public finds acceptable in each age category.”

We spoke to Helen Mason, a mother of two, living in Cornwall, about the BBFC’s responsibility to provide clear guidelines.

She said: “As a mother of children aged 3 and 6, I am often amazed by the levels of violence and emotional distress that the BBFC thinks are acceptable for young children to view. There have been many times I have had to switch supposedly ‘suitable’ films off half way through because my children have been too upset or frightened.” She added: “I appreciate that the BBFC has a difficult task …when children’s emotional development can be so diverse.”

Mrs Mason went on to say that she felt there should be much more information provided in order to help parents make the right choice.

Violence and potentially frightening content aren’t the only concerns for parents. Is This Movie Suitable spoke to Sarah Walton, a Market Harborough based mother of four between the ages of 8 and 1, and she said: “The age range of children who could view a PG film is broad. More appropriate age guidance would be welcome.”

When asked about whether she could rely on the BBFC age ratings as they currently stand Mrs Walton said that she had recently watched the PG rated movie, ‘Edward Scissorhands’ with her eldest boys and was surprised to find there was a scene with strong sexual implications, wherein a women partiality undresses with the intent of seducing the eponymous Edward Scissorhands (played by Johnny Depp).

If you have any thoughts or stories to share about the age certificates given by the BBFC then please comment below. You can also take part in the BBFC consultation by filling in their online survey here. The consultation ends on 12th April 2013 so be sure to take part should you want to have your chance to influence the BBFC guidelines for the next 5 years.

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