Australian Council on Children and the Media

Change Australia's classification system: reduce children's exposure to glamorised violence February 27, 2020

 

“The message that ‘violence works and violence wins’ is embedded in many computer games and films played or seen by children and teens, and is causing them harm” says Prof Elizabeth Handsley, President of the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM). “Our classification system provides easy access to images of glamorised violence,  that is violence performed by heroes in a good cause, where the violent actions are justified, rewarded and applauded. The evidence is that such ongoing exposure raises the risks of the use of aggression to solve conflict.”

She continued: “In the context of the incidence of violence in our society, especially domestic violence, a government that is serious about wanting to modify the cultural attitudes of children about the use of violence will act now to reduce exposure to glamorised violence.”

ACCM has lodged its submission to the federal government’s Review of Classification regulation.

It is calling for a classification system that is evidence-based and which takes account of reliable research about which images and depictions have adverse impacts on children at which stages of their development (with violent actions, and images of horror, mutilation or destruction of greatest concern).  ACCM’s surveys of parents show they want more information about the suitability of films and games for their younger children (absent from the present system) to prevent harms such as the development of sleep disturbances, and ongoing fears and anxieties from scary images.

ACCM’s submission is wide ranging and includes recommendations for

  • An age- based classification system (with The Netherlands’ Kijkwijzer system as a model)
  • A new element of Horror/Scariness be introduced and be separate from Violence
  • The application of one set of classification categories (symbols) to a wide range of film and interactive content
  • The continuation of separate guidelines for films and for games, with additional classification elements for games to cover their different risks (such as gambling)
  • The use of automated systems only if the embedded classification system is evidence based and capable of objective judgements
  • The establishment of a Classification office to oversee and evaluate a national system, receive all complaints about, and to reviews classification decision

ABOUT ACCM: ACCM is a not for profit, peak national body representing the interests of children and parents in regard to their rights as media consumers. www.childrenandmedia.org.au

It has provided free, wellused, award winning age-based movie reviews of all G, PG and those M movies promoted to children,  for many years.

 

FOR INTERVIEW:

Prof Elizabeth Handsley  0448 898 185

 

FOR BACKGROUND: Barbara Biggins 08 8234 9396