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Children as young as six ‘regularly decide for themselves what content to watch’

By Martyn Landi
Children as young as six regularly choose what film and TV content to watch without input from their parents, new research suggests.

A report by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) suggests that more than half (51%) of six to 15-year-olds make their own decisions about what to watch without asking their parents first, with 46% of six-year-olds saying they do so.

According to the BBFC’s research, 42% of parents are concerned about what impact upsetting or disturbing content might have on their children’s development.

However, 63% of the parents of teenagers said some film and TV shows were good springboards to talk to their children about certain difficult topics depicted, such as mental health and sexuality.

The research said 72% of teenagers agree with this idea.

David Austin, BBFC chief executive said: “It’s clear from our new research that young people and their parents need the right information to help them choose content well.

“It’s vital for children’s healthy development, and parents’ peace of mind, that they’re confident they’re pressing play on something that won’t cause harm or upset.

“It’s very encouraging that parents – and their children – are approaching each other to talk about depictions of issues they see on screen.

“That’s why we have comprehensive ratings info on our website, alongside our trusted and well-known age ratings, which gives everyone an idea of what to expect.”

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