The British Board of Film Classification pilot scheme saw videos from UK singers like Ellie Goulding and Dizzee Rascal rated during a pilot scheme to rate and place age restrictions on online music videos.
Sony Music UK, Warner Brothers UK and Universal Music UK co-operated with the board and online platforms YouTube and Vevo to develop the government-backed ratings system, which is now to be made permanent and extended to independent music labels.
However, US singers such as Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Robin Thicke have come under fire for the sexual and violent content of their videos, but so far the age restrictions are limited to UK singers and bands.
“We would welcome any country adopting such a system,” ISPCC spokeswoman Mary Nicholson said.
“It’s very obvious that kids and other young people are currently being exposed to far too much explicit online material and all these moves are a step in the right direct ion. However, it will be interesting to see how this will work in practice,” she said.
The Irish charity, which has previously warned of the effects of graphic and sexualised online material on children and teens, also warned that parents still need to monitor their children’s viewing habits.
“What is obvious is that it’s far too easy for young children to access overly sexualised content,” Ms Nicholson said.
“Age guides are a big help for parents, but you still need to monitor your children’s viewing. There’s no one answer to this but it is good to see corporates, governments and parents working together,” she said.
Of 132 music videos in the trial, 56 were suitable for over 12s while 53 were 15s. Only Dizzee Rascal’s Couple Of Stacks, which has a horror-movie themed video with graphic depictions of dismemberment and torture, was deemed 18s.
Ellie Goulding’s video for Love Me Like You Do, which was featured on the soundtrack of the 50 Shades of Grey movie and includes clips of sex scenes, received a 15s rating.
Videos uploaded to YouTube by UK singers and bands that have been given a 15 or 18 certificate won’t load automatically and the rating will be displayed on the video’s information.
“We’re very happy to support the British Board of Film Classification in this endeavour,” Youtube spokeswoman Thea O’Hear said.
“The pilot is now being made permanent and being rolled out to include a six month pilot for independent labels,” she said.
Although the scheme only applies to UK performers, Ms O’Hear was keen to stress that all clips from any country, including music videos, fall under YouTube’s community guidelines. Any video flagged by a user as having inappropriate content is reviewed and is subject to Youtube’s own rules on content.