Children in bedroom accessing 'U rated' online material Image:BBFC

Free online tools to help children to access age-appropriate material

During the coronavirus crisis parents are finding themselves faced with the task of homeschooling their children to keep them safely indoors.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has a range of free educational resources, case studies and tools available online, which can help children to access fun, interesting and age-appropriate material.

This BBFC initiative has been welcomed by Government and children’s charities from across the UK.

Minister for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage, said:

“As we stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives, it is important that parents and children can access appropriate content for their age.

“The government is completely committed to internet safety and I am delighted to see initiatives like this support our work.”

Avoid potentially distressing material

The BBFC’s age ratings, ratings info and resources can also help families more generally choose content well, and avoid potentially distressing material:

  • CBBFC is the BBFC’s dedicated website for children, this is a tool to help their children understand what content is right for them, how their choices affect them and those around them, and how to choose films and TV shows well
  • The BBFC’s Parents’ Guide to Age Ratings is designed to help parents and carers navigate content with their children. Films, TV shows and websites can make a huge difference in children’s lives. The BBFC says that for children’s healthy development and own sense of wellbeing staying safe online is crucial
  • Families can check the age rating and long ratings info. This describes in detail the category defining issues – for BBFC rated content on the BBFC website and free app, keeping their children safe online
Parent/Guardian access online material with children Image:BBFC
  • Children can have a go at being a BBFC compliance officer, and rate a trailer themselves. Using the BBFC classification guidelines, children need to think critically about the content in the trailers, consider the audience, and can compare their answer with the actual age rating and ratings info
  • Written in partnership with the PSHE Association, the BBFC’s PSHE free resources outline useful ways for parents to use films to talk about films with their children. Parents can download free worksheets, discussion points and lesson plans
  • Parents can check out a round up of case studies on the BBFC website, which suggests films to watch and each gives insight into the classification process, as well as suggested discussion points so that parents can help their children begin to think critically about film
  • The BBFC has published a list of educational films and TV shows that are available to stream now on video on demand platforms

Faye Harcourt, director of Marketing and Outreach at the BBFC, said:

“It is hard for parents to monitor closely what their children are watching online in normal times but now it is even more challenging.

“Our dedicated children’s website, CBBFC, has the tools to help parents understand how to keep children safe online and how to teach them to view content that is appropriate to their age.”

Will Gardner, ceo of Childnet International, said:

“We know it can be challenging for parents to keep an eye on their children’s online habits, but these resources from the BBFC can help children make informed decisions about the content they choose to watch.”

The BBFC will continue to highlight movies on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels which are being broadcast that families in lockdown can watch together, with quizzes for children and parents alike.