Viewing films safely online
Many parents have concerns or questions about whether films their children can watch on the internet have age ratings. Here is our guide for parents to finding films with BBFC age ratings online. You can also read our tips for parents about accessing films safely and legally online, and protecting younger viewers here.
How do online ratings work? Do films on the internet have BBFC age ratings?
The BBFC age rates the films you and your family see on DVD and at the cinema, but we also work with video-on-demand platforms to provide age ratings for films and videos on the internet. In addition we also help mobile operators decide what online content they put behind their parental controls on mobile phones.
Films online don’t need an age rating from the BBFC by law, but in practice most providers and users are keen to make sure children are watching age appropriate material.
How will I know if my video-on-demand service uses BBFC age ratings?
You can check to see if the video-on-demand platform you subscribe to uses BBFC age ratings by looking at the Digital Age Ratings page on our main website www.bbfc.co.uk which can be found under the What is Classification? tab. That website contains information about all of our work, including BBFCinsight and information about 15 and 18 films and adult content.
How can I control what my children watch when they use my video-on-demand service?
Most video-on-demand platforms will let you set parental controls to prevent children watching anything that might be unsuitable for them. Some websites have dedicated parts of their site for children’s films, and some even allow you to restrict the search by age ratings so children can browse age appropriate films. Information about parental controls from your video-on-demand platform can usually be found in their FAQ section.
How can I find out what is in a film that my kids could watch on the internet?
If a film has an online BBFC age rating you can read more about the film by checking the BBFCinsight, as you would with a film you were going to see at the cinema or on DVD. BBFCinsight is aimed particularly at parents and it offers a summary of how and why a film was rated at any given category. You can find read BBFCinsight on our website and our free App which you can download at the Google or iTunes store. More information on BBFCinsight can be found here.
What if I think my children are viewing inappropriate content via their mobile phone?
If you are unsure about any film content you see on a mobile phone when you access the internet via the mobile network, you can report this to your mobile operator. There’s more about this on our main website www.bbfc.co.uk too.
How can I find out more?
There’s lots of information available about online safety more generally, and viewing material online. A good place to start is the UK Safer Internet Centre.
For regular BBFC updates, including information about our work regarding films online you can follow us on Twitter, our account is @BBFC and you can sign up to receive monthly BBFC email newsletters containing BBFC age ratings for upcoming releases as well as news about BBFC partnerships, podcasts and other BBFC activities including online.
Can I contact you?
We aim to work as a trusted guide for parents when they’re deciding what their family watches online, by giving you the same information you’ve come to expect to see on DVDs or at the cinema. If you have questions about specific services, films you’ve seen online or how we’re planning to develop online services, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What about illegal or pirated films online? How can I keep my kids safe?
Films on illegal or pirate websites do not always have accurate age ratings, or any age ratings at all. They may also contain additional material. Filesharing or downloading films illegally online can also carry risks such as viruses to computers or prosecution.
It is possible to find films legally online though. A good place to start is FindAnyFilm.com – a website developed by the film industry. FindAnyFilm.com contains information on BBFC age ratings and BBFCinsight to help families make informed decisions about their film choices online.
For more information about piracy, viewing films legally you can go to the Industry Trust for IP Awareness website.