British Board of Film Classification launches new guidelines January 14, 2014

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has published new Classification Guidelines alongside the results of the large-scale public consultation which underpins them. The new Classification Guidelines will come into force on 24 February 2014.

Specific changes to the Classification Guidelines as a result of the public consultation include:

  • Greater weight will be given to the theme and tone of a film or video, particularly around the 12A/12 and 15 level;
  • Particular attention will be given to the psychological impact of horror, as well as strong visual detail such as gore;
  • Regarding language, the public wants the BBFC to be stricter with the language allowed at U and more flexible about allowing very strong language at 15. Context, not just frequency, is the most important factor in how language in films is perceived by the public.

A specific issue highlighted by the public consultation is in relation to sexual content. The public is particularly concerned about the sexualisation of girls, and pornography.  The content of music videos and the ease of accessibility of online porn are special worries.

Parents are also concerned about risks to vulnerable adolescents including self-harm, suicide, drug misuse and premature access to sexual content, including what some describe as the ‘normalisation’ in films and videos of behaviours which parents consider inappropriate. Read more on the BBFC site.