The UK is one of the countries in Europe that is tight in terms of giving age ratings to the show. One of the platforms that must follow the rule is Netflix. For British people, the show and streaming platform has labeled all the contents based on age. To label the content, there is a unique algorithm used, especially made by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).
BBFC itself has classified many other shows and films before. Previously, the technology used by the board is known to be used for theatre movies. The policy given by the Queen Elizabeth country is agreed by the team of Netflix. To label the content, the Netflix staff watches all the movies and shows in the catalog. Then, they sign some scenes including sex scenes, violence, curses, and others. Those data are submitted to the algorithm.
Purposes of Age Classifications
Currently, people spend most of their time to stream and watch online shows. Although many of them are still into conventional TV programs, the number is getting more limited. Therefore, it is important for streaming platforms like Netflix to consider providing age ratings to their shows. The age ratings or classifications are mainly to protect underage children from watching shows with inappropriate content.
If people in other countries may not agree with the age classification system, British people seem to really be concerned about it. Based on a survey and research conducted by BBFC, 85% of parents and 95% of teenagers want the age classification on streaming platforms. The data are quite surprising, particularly in the teenager part.
Yes, for so long, we believe that teenage is a phase of curiosity. Teenagers may be interested in things that are forbidden to them. However, the survey shows the opposite result in which British teenagers find it better to have the age classification on the shows they watch. Of course, it is not the representation of all teenagers in the UK.
On the other hand, parents also feel more relieved with the policy. They don’t need to debate with their kids whether they are allowed to watch a certain show or not. It is also very helpful particularly for parents who cannot monitor their underage children all the time with their gadgets.
The Policy is supported by Netflix
Things like the age classification are sometimes debatable. It is because an inappropriate scene for someone can be appropriate by others. Moreover, many platforms may think that the policy can be disadvantageous for them. Surprisingly, Netflix is very cooperative. The platform even voluntarily shares more than its 10,000 films, documentaries, and programs to be classified by BBFC. Those programs are to be released in the theatres and other media.
There are some labels given to the content; U, PG, 12A, 15, and 18. The program labeling indeed takes time; it is less than 2 years. Additionally, BBFC still does some audits to make sure that the labeling goes well.
For Netflix, the age classification by BBFC is still relevant. The process is also relatively fast and easy without giving too many bad effects for the Netflix programs. In fact, many programs with a label of 18+ are still demanded in the UK. It is just people who want to be more careful so that some adult contents cannot be freely accessed by teenagers.
Supports from the Government
The cooperation between BBFC and Netflix is also supported by the UK government. Currently, they are arranging regulations to protect children from the danger of online contents. Caroline Dinenage, the Minister of Digital and Culture stated that the government has committed to making sure the new technology developed is safe to enjoy by anyone. We also want to see all the online platforms to do all the attempts they are able to, to protect the children.
She added that the cooperation is greatly supported by the government in order to help parents and teenagers to make good choices and decisions related to the programs or shows they watch. This way, they can find it easier to get programs based on their age.
Sure, the UK government also expects that the step done by Netflix is also followed by other streaming platforms. For the same purposes, other social media services should also do the same things.
Aside from Netflix, BBFC has cooperated with 20 other streaming platforms including Sky Store, Virgin Media, BT, Talk Talk, and more to do age classification labeling. In the future, it is expected more platforms that offer the same cooperation with the board for the sake of children’s protections.