Parents can learn about the terms and language they can expect to hear in children's films and TV shows in a new guide published by the British Board of Film Classification.
The British Board of Film Classification has published a new guide for parents to learn about the terms and language they can expect to hear in children's films and TV shows. The BBFC commissioned a survey to find out if parents would accept more frequent strong language in the 12 and 15 categories.
While most adults feel comfortable swearing or using strong language with friends, the survey found they do not in front of children. As a result, parents are more likely not to want to hear more coarse or offensive words on screen.
Categories U, PG, 12, and 12A are covered in the guide, with words like f*** and c*** classified as strong language, and very strong, respectively. Acronyms such as WTF are also in the firing line and are classified as if they were their full versions.
BBFC chief executive David Austin said: “Children are watching more content on multiple screens, and their parents want to protect them from strong and very strong language wherever they can and for as long as possible.
“Parents told us they are keen for media industries to share the responsibility - and that's where we come in. Very strong language retains an innate shock value, and for some remains the last taboo.”
On its website, the BBFC say there may be “moderate” bad language in categories 12/A, and “strong language may be permitted, depending on the manner in which it is used, who is using the language, its frequency within the work as a whole and any special contextual justification”. PG films should have “mild bad language only”, while U films can feature “infrequent use only of very mild bad language”.
A survey was commissioned by the BBFC to research parent’s tolerance on more frequent use of strong and very strong language in films watched by children and young teenagers. Out of ten respondents, six showed signs that swearing is part of their daily life. While nearly a third (30%) claiming to use strong language more, than they did five years ago.
Although six respondents from ten say they are comfortable using strong language with friends, they would refrain from using such words in front of children. According to the survey, a single respondent claims to feeling comfortable swearing in front of children under 16 at home.
The research also suggested a generational divide when it comes to swearing, with nearly half (46%) of Generation Z respondents frequently using strong language daily. Older generations, such as 55 to 64-year-olds who had one in ten (12%), and one in eight (12%) over-65s, showed a much lower tolerance for explicit dialogue.
According to the results, 25% of 16 to 24-year-olds said they would never use strong language in public, compared to a majority of over-65s (75%). The research for the BBFC, carried out by Magenta, consisted of 76 participants who watched and reviewed films over 10 days, 17 online focus groups with a total of 66 participants, and an online survey of 1,000 adults aged 18 plus across the UK.