Australian Council on Children and the Media

Editorial: Know Before You Go turns 18 August 18, 2020

ACCM’s child-development- based movie reviews have now been running for 18 years. That’s quite an achievement, and one that we are very proud of.

In 2002, encouraged by our patron Steve Biddulph, ACCM set up a team of people with expertise in child development and an interest in children’s films.

We developed protocols and formats for the reviews, and set out to provide parents with a better guide to child-friendly movies than the National Classification Scheme (NCS) did.

It’s still fulfilling that purpose. At present count, ACCM’s database of reviews of G, PG, and those M movies promoted to children, numbers close to 1500.

The great majority of these are of cinema movies from 2002 to 2020, but also includes many “golden oldies”. The Know Before You Go database can be found here.

During the Covid 19 crisis, ACCM has set out to provide parents with much more information about the age-suitability of movies on streaming services than is supplied by those services themselves.

In addition to reviewing as many of those movies as resources allow, we’ve provided a guide to age-appropriateness for movies currently listed on Netflix, Disney+, and Stan.

A feature of the new guide to streaming service movies is the introduction of our pick for weekly family movie nights.

These picks are accompanied by engaging video chats by reviewers Daniela and Martha telling why they liked the movies and where to find them.

Why have we put so much effort into these new guides? That’s because we believe that in these times when screens at home are in frequent use, the need is for screen content that will help, not harm children. 

ACCM has a great deal of such information to share. Such information is not available via the National Classification Scheme. The NCS only tells parents if a movie is OK or not for children under 15 years, which doesn’t help if your children are say, 5 and 8. The NCS is under review but it could be many months before we know if any changes will be made, or when.

In the meantime, ACCM is using its resources to inform parents’ choices.

If you’d like to support our efforts (and give us a birthday present) you can do so here (all donations are tax-deductible).