Lots of children enjoy watching films online on the internet. Lots of music videos can be watched online too. We’ve been working with big UK record companies to see if we can age rate music videos online just like we rate films online.

Online films and music videos don’t need to be age rated by law, unlike DVDs which do need an age rating before they can be sold in the shops and cinema films which need an age rating before you see them at the cinema. But with so many people watching films and music videos online, people tell us they would like the same age rating guidance on the internet as they have when they buy a DVD or watch a film at the cinema.

Our work to age rate music videos began with a small pilot scheme which began in October 2014. We wanted to test how age rating music videos could work with just a few record companies and websites where you can watch music videos. We did this to find out how it would work and whether people found the age ratings on online music videos useful. 

We age rated music videos from the record companies Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK before they were put on YouTube and Vevo. We asked the record companies to send us videos that they thought would need a 12, 15 or 18 age rating.

Some of the videos we rated before they were put on Vevo and YouTube include Ellie Goulding’s ‘On My Mind’, Ed Sheeran & Rudimental’s ‘Bloodstream’ and The Wombats ‘Be Your Shadow’.

When the videos were put on Vevo and YouTube the age rating and BBFCinsight about the key classification issues in the video were included. This information lets you decide if the online music video is suitable for you and what you might see in it.

In August 2015, we reviewed the pilot and carried out some research with the public to find out if they found the age ratings on online music videos useful. 78% of the parents we spoke to said they found the age ratings for online music videos useful. The research showed the pilot scheme was a success and the three big UK record companies agreed to continue to send their online music videos to the BBFC for age rating. We’re now inviting smaller record companies to send us their videos as well. This will mean more online music videos will have an age rating when you see them on Vevo and YouTube. 

Vevo and YouTube are also finding out if they can use parental controls to ensure children don’t see music videos online that contain content that might be unsuitable for them or upsetting.

What are your views?

We are always keen to hear what you think about our work. If you have any comments or questions about age ratings for music videos online you can email us education@bbfc.co.uk.

Let us know what you think about age ratings for online music videos.