Conservative lobby group Family First have launched an online TV service for parents worried about exposing their children to offensive content.
The online streaming service, called “Family First TV”, allows families to rent or buy content with granular controls over who can see what. It also offers a large amount of political content from Family First for free.
Family First trumpet the granular parental controls as the main innovation within the service. The system is split into four separate five point scales – language, violence, sexual themes, and adult themes.
For example, a “1” on the sexual themes scale signifies an on-screen kiss or a partially naked character, while a “3” signified implied intercourse – such as a “morning after” scene.
Parents can create different profiles for children with fine tuned levels, and assign credits for them to rent or buy the content.
Spokesman Nick Hitchins argued that sticker ratings don’t give parents enough control over the content their children see.
“A PG can be anything from fantasy swordfighting in Puss in Boots through to teenagers kissing behind the bush through to people using some quite colourful language,” he said.
“Instantly,our insights panel gives families the ability to say ‘what is going to occur in this that might concern me’.”
Hitchins points to the M-rated Star Wars: The Force Awakens as an example of this imprecise rating.
“Parents are suddenly in a quandary. M in my mind suddenly feels like I would tell my kid they need to be sixteen before they can watch that. Now comes Star Wars which used to be pretty much PG all the way through.”
Michelle Baker from the Office of Film and Literature Classification said they were always happy for parents to look up extra information on films they wanted to show their children.
“We would like to put as much information as we can on the sticker, but there are some limitations on the physical label,” she said.
This is a good initiative from Family First. Empowering parents to be more specific as to what they deem suitable. The current classifications are very broad, and a voluntary system that provide more detailed ratings will I am sure be welcome by some parents.