Why music video age ratings simply will not work


Today it was announced in the UK that all music videos made in Britain by artists on major labels will be given an age certificate like movies by the BBFC in a bid to protect children from unsuitable material, but it is simply not going to work. Here’s why:

First of all, young people are not dumb and if they want to see it, they will. No age restriction will stop them and parental controls don’t really work. Those growing up with tech will know more ways to circumvent restrictions than adults creating the legislation! The fans of certain musicians are dedicated and they will watch the music video regardless because they love them. They will not be deterred.

The biggest issue is that it only applies to UK videos so American artists, the most prolific makers of violent/sexual content, and the Wrecking Balls and Bitch Better Have My Moneys of tomorrow will still be released uncertified. I see very little point implementing rules than only apply to a small percentage of videos – it should be all or nothing.


I know from personal experience, watching films rated 15 and 18 when I was too young was exciting because you know you aren’t supposed to be watching it. I think the rating could have a subversive effect and encourage young people to check them out to see why they got the certificate and what’s so shocking about it. Also, if the press cover the video and write about how violent/raunchy/unsuitable it is, then it is going to rack up the hits anyway! Everyone wants to know about the hot talking point.

I know that the purpose is well-meaning but I simply think it is pointless. You cannot control what children do on the Internet, especially when it comes to material released by their idols. The certificate will not deter them in the slightest, and rightly so.


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