Age Ratings for Sexual Content and Nudity in Films will be Stricter for Individuals Under 15 in Britain

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Updated guidelines indicate that sex scenes previously deemed acceptable in films rated 12 or 12A are now more likely to receive a 15 rating.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) noted heightened concerns regarding the visibility of sexual content and nudity for viewers under 15.

Conducting its first extensive audience research in five years, the BBFC found that viewers now advocate for a more cautious approach towards borderline sex scenes between a 12/12A and a 15 rating.

Recently surveying 12,000 individuals, the BBFC aimed to understand evolving attitudes towards sex, violence, drug use, and language depicted on screen. A 12 rating implies that viewers must be over the age of 12 to watch the film, while a 12A rating permits children under 12 to attend accompanied by an adult.

For films with those ratings, the current guidelines say sexual activity “may be briefly and discreetly portrayed”, while nudity in a sexual context “must be brief and discreet”.

In a 15-rated film, sexual activity can be shown “but usually without strong detail”, while sexual nudity is allowed “but strong detail is likely to be brief or presented in a comic context”.

NWN

The research also indicated that audiences were happy for classification to be more lenient towards some sex references at the border of 15 and 18, especially in comic contexts.

The last time the BBFC carried out such research was in 2019. Then, as now, sexual violence remains the biggest area of concern for UK audiences.

Since 2019, however, the depiction of suicide and self-harm has risen to the second biggest area of concern.

Respondents expressed a desire to be warned about this type of content, according to the BBFC, which said it would continue to highlight suicide and self-harm in its advice.

Society has changed

The organisation also found that people are now more concerned about depictions of violence on screen.

It said that in future, a higher rating may be required for violence across all age ratings.

When it comes to drugs, the research suggested that audiences have become more relaxed about depictions of cannabis use and solvent misuse than before.

The BBFC said it would therefore take a less restrictive approach to such content.

Conversely, the survey suggested parents are concerned about the normalisation of bad language, especially terms with sexual or misogynistic connotations. Such language may now also require a higher age rating.

BBFC president Natasha Kaplinsky, said the organisation was committed to ensuring what it does responds to “the ever-evolving world around us”.

“Since we last asked people across the country what they thought about our standards, society has changed, and opinions have followed – it’s fascinating how this vast body of new research reflects this.”

Source: The Guardian

 

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