Age ratings should be in place for traditional media such as cinema screenings for protection purposes. This is because there is no administrative capacity for assessing a child’s competence.
Digital media, however, are much harder to regulate, not least because children themselves are producers of content. Age restrictions here are a blunt and ineffective way of ensuring children’s protection from ‘inappropriate’ content, raising questions about who decides what is ‘appropriate’, why and what kind of reporting and redress system is in place.
Evidence suggests that well-informed and engaged parents who discuss the internet with their children are the most effective means of protection. Any risk prevention strategy should also draw on children’s own views and experiences. Crucially they should be balanced with respect for their other rights, not seen as opposing goals.
Read more on page 21 of our discussion paper Age is Arbitrary: Discussion paper on setting minimum ages.
Campaigns and resources
"The impact of advertising and marketing practices on the enjoyment of cultural rights," by the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights
"In their own words: What bothers children online?" By EU Kids Online
Electronic Frontier Foundation has developed a playlist showing young LGBTQ people how to get around censorship and blocking of online health and community resources. It also provides advice on how to access information without fear that online activity will be saved on individuals' computers and risk being visible to others.
- "Children, young people and the commercial world," by Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England and Wales