Dated: 15 July 2011
Simpler Content Ratings from MDA help parents make Better Media Choices
The Media Development Authority (MDA), backed by strong industry support, is deepening its efforts to give parents more and better quality information to make informed decisions about protecting their children from inappropriate content in the media.
Through MDA’s new content classification initiatives and outreach efforts launched today, parents will now have clearer and consistent information tools made accessible to them, to guide their children’s media habits. These initiatives include a new PG13 rating for film, television and video which offers a finer demarcation of content suitability for parents of young teens;content rating symbols that are easy to recognise;and Internet filters that Internet Service Providers must now promote to subscribers at point of sale and upon contract renewal. Also available is a version of the film, video game and arts performance database containing rating decisions that the public can access through their handphones, by end this year.
The rollout of these initiatives addresses various recommendations proposed by the Censorship Review Committee (CRC) in September last year.
Said Mr Michael Yap, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Media Development Authority, “We are creating a more conducive environment for parents to make informed media choices. Through these information tools we are introducing today, such as the revised classification system for film, television and video, we are now better able to support parents in guiding the young on safe and responsible use of the media.”
1) Introduction of PG13 as a New Classification Rating
With effect from today, a new content rating –PG13 (Parental Guidance 13) –will be introduced for film, television (Free-to-Air and Pay TV) and video. The PG13 advisory, which indicates that the content is suitable for children aged 13 and above, aims to bridge the gap between the PG (Parental Guidance) rating and NC16 (No children under 16) rating in the current film classification system. PG13 is an advisory rating. This means that parents have a choice and under-13s can still watch the programme, but Parental Guidance is advised.
Currently, MediaCorp uses PG (Parental Guidance) for content not suitable for children, but the PG rating is not similar in standard to that of films. By introducing film ratings such as PG and PG13 for free-to-air broadcast, this harmonises with and introduces film classification to television. PG13 will now be the highest rating on MediaCorp programmes. Effective today, MediaCorp will be able to use the new PG13 rating on films and dramas scheduled between 10pm and 6am daily. The rating will be displayed for one minute at the start of the programme, and after each commercial break, also for one minute. This makes it easier for viewers to know the rating of a film or drama. Viewers can expect to see the first PG13 programme on Free-to-Air television from 23 July onwards.
Pay TV will adopt film ratings from PG to M18 including the new PG 13. Adopting the same film ratings will allow viewers to understand film ratings across various media.
In the area of film, where the full spectrum of ratings applies, PG13 will serve as an additional rating within the current range of G, PG, PG13, NC16, M18 and R21 film ratings, giving the public even more choices.
For videos, the public can look forward to PG13 videos, adding to the current range of videos up to M18.
2) Standardised Rating Symbols
With effect from today, there will also be one common set of rating symbols for film, television and video, for easier recognition. These ratings used to come in different symbols, depending on the media platform. They have now been revised for greater clarity and consistency, and are also more easily identifiable. The circular green symbols –“G/PG/PG13” –are advisory ratings, while the age-restricted “NC16/M18/R21” ratings come in orange boxes.
3) Internet Filters
According to a CRC survey in 2010, 71% of Internet users who are parents with young children (14 and below) are not subscribers of Internet filters.
MDA encourages parents to install Internet filters to manage their children’s online consumption habits. From September onwards, MDA will require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to promote Internet filters, including mobile filters, at point of sale and upon renewal of contract to its subscribers.
Industry players are also doing their part to take on shared responsibility for the online protection of children and families. Beginning from September this year, StarHub will be the first ISP to offer a new mobile Internet filtering service to its subscribers.
4) Parental Involvement and Public Education
To educate parents on safer use of the media, MDA will be stepping up its third public education effort this year, working with industry players such as StarHub, SingTel, MediaCorp, cinema operators including Shaw and Golden Village;as well as community groups and voluntary welfare organisations such as TOUCH Community Services.
Parents can look forward to a 30-second educational clip on Free-to-Air television and Pay TV;as well as a parent’s handbook, which is also available online at (http://www.mda.gov.sg/Documents/News/2011/Handbook.pdf) to guide children towards responsible media use;a webpage (http://www.mda.gov.sg/Public/Parents/Pages/Parents.aspx) which serves as a one-stop resource on media classification and cyberwellness;classification workshops as well as a hotline number 1800 3772252, with experts on call for advice on how to keep children safe on the Internet.
More Choices and Co-regulation Moving Forward
The consumer-friendly initiatives announced today are aimed at providing content rating tools and information to help parents better protect their children in a dynamic media landscape. In the coming months ahead, MDA will also be rolling out pro-industry initiatives. Details will be announced by end 2011.
About Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA)
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (www.mda.gov.sg) promotes the growth of globally competitive film, television, radio, publishing, music, games, animation and interactive digital media industries. It also regulates the media sector to safeguard the interests of consumers, and promotes a connected society.