New BBFC Rating Guidelines Coming in February
While the age control on the British Internet starts to spin out of control, the BBFC, which is responsible for films in the UK, stays transparent and reliable. Even though not everything gets through uncensored, there's always an explanation as to why not.
On February 24th, 2014, some adjustments regarding the criteria for the different age groups come into effect. Especially the ratings "BBFC 12" and "BBFC 15" are affected by that. More than 10.000 British citizens were surveyed for those new rules.
More than before, the general tone and topic of a film will play a role for the rating ranging in the 12-15 area. Not only hard facts (choice of words, single scenes that may be critical) but also the psychological effect of horror scenes will be taken into account. The citizens wished that curse words were looked at in a stricter way when they appear in a film that falls into the "U" category but that they are less important when it's a film in the line of "BBFC 15". The context of those curse words should be relevant, not just the amount.
The sexualisation of boys and girls will play a bigger role in the future, as well, and it looks like it's going to be perceived in a stricter way. Furthermore, the way in which adolescents are portrayed when they use drugs or express other inappropriate behavior troubles the British citizens. The BBFC might react to that, too.
The survey also brought to light that 95% of the parents of under-15-year olds check the BBFC ratings before consuming the film, 89% think they are generally important and 92% agree with the respective age ratings that the BBFC gives out, even with the most controversial ones within the last 4 years. One of them was the rating for the horror film The Woman in Black which was slightly cut to obtain the BBFC 12 classification (see comparison). Only 11% of the respondents thought that this rating was too low.