When you buy a British DVD or video game you may find the following symbols on them. But what do they mean? Here you are a brief explanation.
THE ‘U’ CATEGORY
The ‘U’ symbol stands for ‘Universal’. A ‘U’ film should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over. A ‘U’ film can explore most themes, as long as the treatment is appropriate to a young audience. A children’s work at ‘U’ will generally contain positive messages about loyalty, honesty and friendship, particularly amongst children. The film or DVD will have a happy ending for the child and the overall tone should be one of reassurance. ‘U’ films are unlikely to contain discriminatory language or behaviour unless it is clearly disapproved of.
THE ‘PG’ CATEGORY
‘PG’ stands for ‘Parental Guidance’. This means a film is suitable for general viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for younger children. A ‘PG’ film should not disturb a child aged around eight or older. Parents should consider whether the content might upset younger or more sensitive children.
THE ’12A’ AND ’12’ CATEGORY
The A stands for ‘accompanied’ and ‘advisory’. ’12A’ means that anyone aged 12 or over can go and see the film unaccompanied. Children younger than 12 may see the film if they are accompanied by an adult (eg someone over the age of 18), who must watch the film with them.
What’s the difference between ’12’ and ’12A’? The ’12’ certificate is just for videos, DVDs and games. ’12A’ is for films only.
THE ’15’ CATEGORY
No-one under 15 is allowed to see a ‘15’ film at the cinema or buy/rent a ‘15’ rated DVD or video game. Parents are warned that ‘15’ rated works are not suitable for children under 15 years of age.
Is a ‘15’ certificate on a video game the same as a ‘15’ for a film or DVD? Yes, if a video game is rated ‘15’ it is not suitable for players who are under 15. Parents should not assume that because something is a game it is unlikely to contain the same sort of material as a ‘15’ rated film or DVD. If the BBFC has rated a game ‘15’ it is because it does contain the same sort of material as a ‘15’ rated film or DVD. The ‘15’ rating has nothing to do with the difficulty of a game or the amount of skill required to play it.
THE ‘18’ CATEGORY
No-one under 18 is allowed to see an ‘18’ film at the cinema or buy/rent an ‘18’ rated DVD or video game. No ‘18’ rated works are suitable for children.
Is an ‘18’ certificate on a video game the same as an ‘18’ for a film or DVD? Yes, if a video game is rated ‘18’ it contains strong material and is not suitable for players who are under 18.
For more information visit: www.bbfc.co.uk