New age ratings pilot for music videos – but can we really control what kids watch online?

Soon some music videos when viewed online in the UK will be subject to the kind of certificate ratings you see for films. It’s part of a pilot scheme put together by the government, the British Phonographic Industry and the British Board of Film Classification.

Video sharing platforms YouTube and Vevo are on board too. But it’s a tough task – how do you police the endless images and content online that many would say is inappropriate for younger viewers?

I think the simple answer is, for now, you can’t.

Gennaro Castaldo from the BPI admitted today that this music video rating pilot scheme is just a start, and other countries and music publishers may take note from the trial getting underway in the UK this Friday.

Parenting groups like Netmums have previously expressed concerns at what can be viewed by youngsters online, especially when it comes from pop stars who they look up to. Miley Cyrus is the classic example – the much loved clean cut all American girl suddenly seemed to embrace so called “pop porn” with the video for her 2013 hit “Wrecking Ball”.

Siobhan Freegard of Netmums raised the issue in our interview today that 20% of music videos being made will now need to be considered for these ratings – one question is why are so many music videos being produced with highly sexual or inappropriate content?

As a mum of two daughters, aged 4 and 1, I know monitoring what they watch will be a huge challenge that I will face before too long.

Speaking as a parent, it’s good to see the issue being addressed, but it currently seems a near impossible task to keep a check on who is watching what online.


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