Australian Council on Children and the Media

Changing Australia's classification system

Submissions to the Review of the national classification regulation scheme closed on Feb 19.  A report and recommendations are expected to be handed to the government by the end of May.

Detailshttps://www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/review-australian-classification-regulation

ACCM’s full submission can be found here and a summary of this submission here. Please let us know if you would like to support ACCM in its position. Conact us here info@childrenandmedia.org.au.

In essence the review is looking at how films and games are classified (ie the effectiveness of the categories such as G, PG, M , MA15+, R 18+  and whether they need to be changed)

It's also looking at how films and games are classified and by whom. (ie should the classification of these items be done by Classification Board or by industry assessors using an online process). 

 The ways in which films and games are promoted and advertised is also up for review.  

 Here’s some important issues:

 1) The present categories need to be replaced by a research and age-based classification system. Read more here

https://childrenandmedia.org.au/taking-action/current-campaigns/classification

 ACCM’s  2019 parent survey showed    

https://childrenandmedia.org.au/assets/files/accm-2019-survey-media-release-final.pdf 

 2) The ways that forthcoming films are advertised needs to change to stop scaring children, and misleading parents

Read more here

https://childrenandmedia.org.au/taking-action/current-campaigns/stop-scary-ads-for-horror-movies-displayed-where-children-have-every-right-to-be

 and

https://childrenandmedia.org.au/taking-action/current-campaigns/stop-ambushing-parents-with-unsuitable-trailers 

 A related issue is when the trailers of films “yet to be classified” should be allowed to be shown – too often it’s with features of lower classification. 

 3) The move to online classification seems inevitable given the volume of material being produced.   This won’t work well for children unless such a system incorporates something similar to Netherlands Kijkwijzer system  which was designed for such implementation, and importantly, uses research-  and age-based classification categories.    http://www.kijkwijzer.nl/english

The Government needs to be encouraged to be bold enough to introduce a new classification system that does what it’s meant to do: give parents reliable,  evidence-based information,  and provide effective protection for children.