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Updated Age Rating System Proves Viewers Want Family-Honoring Content

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Updated Age Rating System Proves Viewers Want Family-Honoring Content

By Movieguide® Staff

Viewers aren’t interested in seeing “distressing” or “disturbing” violence on screen, and movie and television age ratings guidelines in the United Kingdom are changing to reflect public opinion and honor family values. 

In 2023, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) spoke to 12,000 people across the UK “to explore what matters most to audiences when it comes to classification.” 

The group found that people are “now more concerned about depictions of violence on screen in content across all age ratings…audiences expressed concerns about how distressing or disturbing some forms of violence can be.” 

The biggest concern for UK viewers, however, is sexual violence, followed by content with suicide and self-harm. 

“People expressed a clear desire to be warned about this type of content, and the BBFC will continue to highlight suicide and self-harm in its content advice,” the board said.

Survey respondents also called “for a more cautious approach to classifying sex scenes at the border of 12A/12 and 15” ratings, and the BBFC made changes accordingly.

“Participants were concerned by the level of sexual detail, nudity and the duration of the sex scenes rated 12A/12 under the 2019 guidelines. Similar content is now more likely to be rated 15,” the BBFC said. 

Parents also expressed worry over the “normalization of bad language,” especially words with “sexual or misogynistic connotations.” The BBFC stated, “Language such as this may now require a higher age rating.”

Parents’ concern over language, violence and sexual content in movies and TV shows isn’t anything new, though. 

As Movieguide®’s Report to the Entertainment Industry proves, moral, family-friendly movies will always succeed, while entertainment with graphic violence and extreme sexual content will flop. 

In 2023, “Only 16% of the Top 25 Movies had any very strong, graphic, extreme, or bloody violence…but 66% had only strong or intense action violence or comic violence,” the report notes. 

Explicit sexual content also struggles to succeed at the box office. Last year, 96% of the top 25 movies had no sexual content or only light, brief or implied sexual content, while only one movie depicted sexual nudity.  

Any use of obscenities or profanities harms a movie’s ability to reach the top 25. Movieguide® found, “Movies with no foul language, 28%, earned the most money on average among the Top 25 Movies in the United States and Canada, averaging $257.16 million among the Top 25.” With increasing foul language, box office averages steadily dropped. 

The UK’s updated classification guidelines will better allow parents to ensure their children aren’t exposed to inappropriate or harmful content. This change should also encourage moviemakers to honor and celebrate family values in their projects.

Movieguide® previously reported on how violence in entertainment can harm children:

One of the most important “natural experiment” studies in this area was conducted by Brandon Centerwall, M.D., of the University of Washington. He found that there was a doubling of the murder rate some 10 to 15 years after television was introduced into several countries. The time lag occurred because children are most influenced by television violence during early life, but most prone to commit murder in adolescence and young adulthood. The conclusion of Centerwall’s research is that of the approximately 20,000 murders that take place in the U.S. each year, some 10,000 of them would not occur without the influence of television!

A study of a town in Canada that had had no television because of being in a “geographical blind spot,” nicknamed Notel, found that aggression increased dramatically in the children in the town after they received television for the first time. Also, the reading ability of the children decreased because the children were spending hours watching television instead of reading, having a conversation or doing something that would increase their verbal ability more than sitting passively.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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