Internet films – protect your children

publication date: Aug 8, 2013
author/source: Anne Coates

Tina Hobley FindAnyFilm

New research shows a quarter of children and teens download films illegally, and of them, one in five are disturbed by some films they watch. This is because on illegal sites, films don’t have age restrictions, so 11 to 15 year olds are watching 18+ movies without realising. Tina Hobley, actress from Holby City, is fronting a new campaign to help parents protect their children from this.

One in five young film fans admits to having been disturbed by the movies watched on pirate websites and two thirds wish they had checked the film’s official age rating first.

While almost half of children and teens (42%) admit to being aware of rules in place at home designed to restrict what they can and can’t look at on the internet, the research commissioned by The Industry Trust for IP Awareness, in partnership with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), shows a quarter (25%) download or stream movies from unofficial sources, which offer no guidance on age ratings.

The online study, commissioned by The Industry Trust for IP Awareness, in partnership with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) asked 1,000 UK 11 to 15-year-olds about their online viewing habits:

  •  A third of younger children aged 11 to 12 admit to having recently downloaded or streamed a film rated 15 from a pirate website
  • One in five 11 to 15 year olds say they use pirate websites to keep up with what their friends and older siblings are watching
  • More than a quarter of 11 to 15 year olds say their parents don’t know what films they are watching online, and a third wouldn’t  feel comfortable with younger siblings copying their viewing habits

With nearly half of 11 to 15 year olds spending up to an hour each day watching movies-on-the-move via smartphones and tablets during the summer holidays, parents are being encouraged to take advantage of free tools and advice to help them take control of what their children are watching and to visit to find films safely and legally online.

Top tips for parents

There are five simple steps parents can take today to ensure their children are safe and legal when watching films online:

1. Start by visiting  – a one-stop shop where you can find all films, all above board, all in one place.  The website has been developed by the film industry and contains information on BBFC age ratings and BBFCinsight to help families make informed decisions about their film choices.
2. Activate simple parental controls – it’s easy to set up access controls on laptops, tablets and smartphones, which allow you to decide if you want films with certain ratings to be password protected and it’s possible to block specific websites. If you’re not sure how, contact your Internet Service Provider for more information.
3. Get to grips with the BBFC age ratings – visit the BBFC website for a simple guide to the age rating of films.  You know children better than anyone and are the best person to decide what they should be watching.
4. Do your homework. Some films are rated U or PG because they contain no material that is unsuitable for a particular age category, but they might not necessarily be suitable for children.  Gone With The Wind (PG) is a good example. This classic Hollywood film is rated PG but it isn’t intended for children.
5. Start them young – children have a great love and appreciation for films. The younger they are when they understand why films have to be classified and why it’s important to access films via legal channels, the safer they will be when it comes to watching films online.