Age ratings will now be displayed on all UK-produced music videos that appear on YouTube and Vevo, as the government seeks to protect children from inappropriate content.
The new measures, which have been agreed by the music industry after a government initiative, will apply to videos that are deemed unsuitable for children and are produced in the UK by artists who are signed to one of the major labels.
The announcement will see a pilot programme launched by the government in October 2014 made permanent. Vevo and YouTube worked alongside the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) – which represents the recorded music sector in the UK – to create a ratings system so that online videos could be classified in the same way that feature films are.
Joanna Shields, UK minister for Internet safety and security, said that films shown in the cinema and music DVDs were age rated to inform the viewer and help parents make informed choices. She welcomed “this voluntary step from industry to bring internet services in line with the offline world”.
“Keeping children safe as they experience and enjoy all the benefits the internet has to offer is a key priority for this government’s one-nation approach to help families across Britain,” said Shields. “We will continue to work with industry to develop ways to help parents to better protect children online from inappropriate music videos with explicit adult or violent content.”
Under the new system, big UK labels will send videos to the BBFC for classification ahead of release, and then pass on the rating and guidance given when releasing their videos to Vevo and YouTube
Vevo said it was exploring ways to link the new age ratings to additional technology that could strengthen age controls on its site, while YouTube said the new ratings would complement its existing restricted mode, which is designed to allow parents to screen certain content.