With an abundance of devices and outlets now available for individuals to watch and use, it comes as no surprise that many regulations have been created to monitor and control who consumes them. In Australia, a majority of these rules apply to individuals below 18yrs in an attempt to protect the most vulnerable demographic from high levels of violence, profanity, nudity, and crime. These regulations apply across all mediums including movies, TV shows, gaming and even iTunes purchases. Click HERE if you would like to read an interesting document further detailing the importance of classifications and age restrictions.
The first example that comes to mind in regards to media regulation would have to be at the cinemas where they check ID’s ensuring patrons are the correct age to see specific films (particularly those rated MA15+ and R18+). The image below is the Australian Classification System managed by the Australian Government, the rating system is divided into both advisory and restricted categories – advisory including G, PG, and M, restricted including MA15+ and R18+ categories, making it legal for people to be refused entry to certain films.
At home, however, it is the responsibility of parents to enforce these rules in regards to television watching and what video games are being played. Although I never had strict rules in regards to the television I was consuming… I watched the American Pie films at about 10yrs, watched crime shows and Big Brother Late Night and many other media forms that were rated for 15+ when I was much younger! Constantly having more freedom at home always made it annoying when there was a movie I wanted to see at the cinema with friends that was rated above our age bracket. Of course, now this is becoming much harder to monitor as individuals can download or pirate anything at home without a gatekeeper to stop them if they are underage. Children can also easily lie about their age on various networks and in turn, be exposed to inappropriate content.
Today’s media environment will continue to proliferate this type of content and so the rating identified by the Australian Government are no longer as effective as they once might have been. Nowadays, there are so much more opportunities for individuals to be exposed to inappropriate content beyond their years. The law often limps behind, whilst technology runs ahead and it will be interesting to see what rules and regulations are applied in the coming years.