Parents expect British age ratings to appear on streaming services – report

·2-min read

British parents expect familiar age ratings to appear on international streaming services such as Netflix or Disney+, according to a new report.

Many are “concerned and angry” at the prospect of platforms using generic ratings which may not reflect their ideas of how issues including violence, sex and drug use are classified, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) said.

The research, conducted by YouGov, found 82% of parents wanted BBFC age ratings displayed on streaming services.

Film ratings
British parents want to see age ratings they are familiar with when allowing their children to use streaming services, a report has suggested (Stock image/Daniel Law/PA)

The survey excluded domestic-based services such as the BBC’s iPlayer, Channel 4’s All4 and the ITV Hub.

It instead focused on subscription services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and Disney+.

Parents surveyed were shown five short film clips, the BBFC said, and were asked “blind” if they agreed with two alternative age ratings – one from the British organisation and another by a European body.

Without being told which was which, in every case a majority of between 74% and 94% of British parents agreed with the BBFC rating, the body said.

They were also able to identify why the BBFC had applied a more restrictive classification to content including depictions of eating disorders, sexual violence and drug misuse than their European counterparts, it said.

And 54% of those surveyed said they were concerned at the prospect of platforms applying ratings that to did reflect UK classifications, the BBFC said.

David Austin, chief executive of the BBFC, said the organisation was ready to work with streaming services.

He said: “Parents have told us time and time again that generic age labels on subscription streaming services – like ‘caution’ and ‘guidance’ – are just not good enough, and that online ratings must align with the ratings they know and trust in cinemas and on DVD.

“We are calling on streaming platforms to give their UK customers what they want – BBFC age ratings on all content available. We are ready and willing to work with them.”