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Surrender on film swearing: Children can see films full of obscenities as censors relax rules

13 January 2014 14,651 views No Comment

PAUL BENTLEY and LAURA COX Mail

13 January 2014
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• Films aimed at teenagers will be allowed to feature more bad language under new guidelines unveiled
• Parents have previously complained about swearing in PG and 12A films
• Board is set to crack down on horror over fears of ‘psychological impact’
• Public consultation revealed concerns over sexual content in filmss

Children as young as 15 are to be allowed to watch films filled with obscene language.
Swear words are now so ‘commonplace’ among teenagers that age ratings will be relaxed, censors said yesterday.
The British Board of Film Classification claims parents accept it is ‘game over’ when protecting their children from bad language.

Controversy: The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, received more complaints than any other film in the past four years, according to the British Board of Film Classification
Under the new rules, even 12-year-olds could potentially be exposed to more profanities.
Children’s charities, parents’ groups and politicians reacted angrily to the move, which they said amounted to a free-for-all.

‘It is truly outrageous – parents and children are being let down by a regulator who is no longer interested in regulating,’ said Pippa Smith, of the charity Safermedia.

Margaret Morrissey, of the family group Parents Outloud, asked: ‘If no standards are set by adults, what chance do our children have of being polite and decent grown-ups and parents?’

Updating its guidance for cinema films and DVDs, the BBFC said from February 24 it would be ‘more flexible about allowing very strong language at 15’.

Language: More than 50 parents said that the swearing and sexual innuendo of Men in Black 3 meant that it should not have been rated PG
An accompanying report insisted there was evidence of a softening of attitudes toward the most offensive words, ‘especially among younger respondents’.
The board’s researchers sought the opinions of 10,000 people including, for the first time, 1,040 children aged 13 to 18.
Previously, films classified as suitable for 15-year-olds were not permitted to ‘endorse discriminatory language or behaviour’.
While strong language was banned, ‘aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language’ was unlikely to be allowed. Now, however, the guidance states that ‘there may be racist, homophobic or other discriminatory themes and language’.
It adds that very strong language may be permitted depending on the context.
It said: ‘Reluctantly, parents were accepting that there have been shifts in language in recent years and awareness and use of the word “f***” in particular, is almost commonplace, even for primary school aged children.

‘Even if their own children are not using language at home, parents are aware that it has become an accepted part of young people’s lives and its use in the school playground as well as with social media, mobile phones and the internet is widespread.’
It said that especially among boys of 14 and 15 years the C-word ‘was seen to be part of their vernacular’.
Films rated 12A – which can be viewed by younger children if accompanied by an adult – have always allowed ‘moderate language’ and ‘infrequent’ strong language.
Now, guidance states that ‘strong language may be permitted’ even if frequent, with certain conditions on whether it is justified by its context.
The research report accompanying the guidance states: ‘By aged 15, most parents argued that it was “game over” and they could no longer control their child’s viewing.
‘The shock value of bad language is felt to be diminishing with each generation.’

But last night Philip Davies, a Tory MP on the culture, media and sport select committee, said: ‘This reflects the general decline in good behavioural standards.
‘It makes children think it’s perfectly normal and reasonable to use bad language. I would rather they weren’t exposed to even worse levels of swearing.
‘They are still children at 15 and are already exposed to things in films at a younger age than I would care for them to be exposed to.
‘I would like to think that people would want to bring up their children to know that that isn’t acceptable.’
Mrs Smith added: ‘Everyone except the BBFC and broadcast media knows children will copy the swearing they hear.
‘Films make it cool. We dread to think what this latest announcement will mean for films deemed acceptable by the BBFC – an industry-funded body –for our children.’

Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch said: ‘Swearing is not tolerated anywhere else in life – kids can’t do it at school, you can’t do it in public.
‘So it is quite extraordinary that they’re just saying “Well, it’s a free-for-all in 15-rated films”.
‘There is this idea that you just have to accept obscene language because we’ve got an evolving contemporary society and that’s just how it is. But, actually, no we don’t.’

Obscene: The Wolf on Wall Street contains 506 F-words in under three hours

Mrs Morrissey said: ‘Films and internet have done much to lower the tone and values of society.
‘We must remember young adults are the next generation of young parents.’

The new guidelines offer a subtle but significant shift – stating discriminatory language is ‘unlikely’ to be acceptable and that dangerous behaviour ‘must be clearly disapproved of’ if shown.
There will be a crackdown, however, on words such as ‘crap’ which parents complained about hearing in films including the animated feature, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists!

Greater attention will now be paid by censors to horror movies and the psychological impact they can have on children, and to the sexualisation of girls, the content of music videos and the ease of accessibility of online porn.
David Cooke, director of the BBFC, said: ‘Regular public consultation is crucial to continued public trust in what we do.
‘Our new classification guidelines reflect explicitly concerns raised by the public during the 2013 consultation and will, I believe, ensure that we continue to be in step with what the public wants and expects in order to make sensible and informed viewing decisions.
‘There is also room for continued improvement.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2538717/Do-really-want-MORE-swearing-films-New-ratings-flexible-bad-language-tougher-sex-gore.html#ixzz2qKBEMMWS
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