I remember all to well back when I was a kid sitting down to watch the Lion King on VCR but not before sitting through 15 minutes of ads and classification warnings that I never really paid attention to.
While we may no longer see these classification warnings before movies (especially since the wonders of the skip button) as much as we had in the past they are still there. The Classification Board of Australia a classification and censorship body formed the the Australian government is a board that classifies video games, music and films.
Through giving these classifications the classification board aims to protect viewers from content they may find offensive or hard to watch, these include themes such as violence, sexual themes, nudity, drug use and language to name a few. These are all then categorised into separate ratings. Not only can the board classify media but it can also refuse to, this means that they can officially make in illegal to exhibit, sell or hire within australia.
As much as the government tries to prohibit viewing of certain media depending on age, is it really applicable at all? Im pretty sure I speak for everyone when I say that none of us have followed the classification system to a ‘T’ growing up. We have all watched a M-rated movie unaccompanied before we were 15 and when was parental guidance really necessary in a PG movie? When it comes to video games it seems that most thoughts on classifications go out the window, for example my nephew and his friends not even 10 years old are constantly playing COD (call of duty) most of which are rated M.
With the easy access we are granted to information and content (special thanks goes out to the internet) it is almost impossible to monitor what children and young teens are doing, viewing and downloading. What about in situations where your child is over a friends house? Or they have decided to take it upon themselves to buy any movie they please (self check out, who’s gonna stop them? The baggage bay?). As much as people say children should be monitored according to the classifications, half the children’s movies out there are classified PG for one, who is willing to take 5 hours out of their day to sit and monitor their child marathon Shrek?! All in all in situations such as these is it really all that easy to monitor what people watch, and the media they engage with?
Commonwealth of Australia, 2015, ‘Media and Student Resources’ in Australian Classification, Australian Government, viewed 25th September 2015, <http://www.classification.gov.au/Public/Resources/Pages/Media-and-Student-Resources.aspx>