Gaming and Film Classification
As part of our role in helping children and adults to stay safe online and when playing computer games, we felt we should share some information about game ratings and their suitability for young children. In the UK all boxed video-games must have a PEGI (Pan European Game Information) rating specifying who the content is appropriate for: 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+ or 18+ year-olds.
These ratings refer to the level of violence:
- PEGI 3+ games contain slapstick comedy e.g. Tom and Jerry style.
- PEGI 7+ games may include “non-realistic violence towards fantasy characters” or “implied violence”.
- PEGI 12+ will have “violence towards human like characters” but this must be non-realistic so that bodies don’t remain when killed. This may also include violent sports like boxing (providing there is no blood).
- PEGI 16+ games are flagged for “violence towards human characters” who react as they would in real life. This will often include blood and bodies will remain once they are dead.
- PEGI 18+ games are flagged for including violence towards humans that may make you “wince” or your “stomach churn”.
- Smartphone and tablet game ratings are defined by each platform holder. On Android, developers rate their content as being for everyone or requiring low, medium or high Maturity. On iOS, developers rate their content as appropriate for different ages, 4+, 9+, 12+ and 17+. On Windows phone developers rate their content as being appropriate for 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+ or 18+ players.
For specific game information and ratings, please see the website:
The BBFC currently issues the following certificates to films/DVDs. The current category symbols were introduced on 1 January 2003, replacing the previous ones that had been in place since the 1980s.
All ages admitted, but some certain scenes can be unsuitable for young children. They should not disturb children aged 8 or older. May contain mild language (frequent/aggressive use may result in the work being passed at a higher category) or sex/drug references. May contain moderate violence if justified by context (e.g. fantasy). A parent may wish to check the content before they let their children watch or play it.
This category applies to cinema only releases since 2002. Films under this category are considered to be unsuitable for young children. Cinemas in the United Kingdom are only permitted to supply tickets to see a 12A film to children under the age of 12 if they are accompanied by an adult aged 18 or over. However, it is unlikely to be suitable for children under the age of 12.
Films under this category can contain mature themes, discrimination, soft drugs, moderate language, moderate violence, sex references and nudity. Sexual activity may be briefly and discreetly portrayed. Use of strong language may be permitted based on frequency and how they are used, as well as contextual justification. Sexual violence may be implied or briefly indicated.
This category applies to cinema releases from August 1989 to 2002, and home media since 1994. Suitable for people aged 12 and older. It is illegal to supply a video work with a 12 certificate to anyone under that age.
12A-rated films are usually given a 12 certificate for the VHS/DVD version unless extra material has been added that requires a higher rating. The content guidelines are identical to those used for the 12A certificate.
Suitable only for people aged 15 and older. No one younger than 15 may see a 15 film in a cinema. It is illegal to supply a video work with a 15 certificate to anyone under that age.
Films under this category can contain adult themes, hard drugs, (frequent) strong language, strong violence and strong sex references, and nudity without graphic detail. Sexual activity may be portrayed but without any strong detail. Sexual violence may be shown if discreet and justified by context. Use of very strong language may be permitted based on frequency and how they are used, as well as contextual justification.
Suitable only for people aged 18 or older, which means adults only. No one younger than 18 may see an 18 film in a cinema. It is illegal to supply a video work with an 18 certificate to anyone under that age.
Films under this category do not have limitation on the foul language that is used. Hard drugs are generally allowed, and explicit sex references along with detailed sexual activity are also allowed. Scenes of strong real sex may be permitted if justified by the context (Sex works cannot be placed at "18"). Very strong, gory, and/or sadistic violence is usually permitted. Strong sexual violence is permitted unless it is eroticized or excessively graphic, in which a work will require compulsory cuts where possible.
There are also descriptors to help you decide if the game is suitable:
These include: Bad Language, Discrimination, Drugs, Fear/Horror, Gambling, Online playing available, sexual behaviour, references or settings and Violence.
We hope that you find this information useful. Children often like to play games that their friends play and are too shy to say that they find them scary or that they are worried by them. Advice on the PEGI website http://www.pegi.info/en/index/ will support you in talking to your child and help you in choosing suitable games that are age/stage appropriate.