The government’s mission to crack down on porn continued today as Baroness Joanna Shields announced UK-produced music videos will now display an age certification rating on YouTube and Vevo.
The internet safety and security minister said the ratings system on music videos will help protect children online. Yet in reality, the age certification ratings are unlikely to have a significant impact.
Children will only be turned away from a music video that contains inappropriate content if they are logged into an account that has their date of birth attached. My 11-year-old cousin could get around that in seconds.
Beyond that, the ratings will only be shown on UK-produced videos which means children will be able to continue watching music videos from some of the most controversial artists, including Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg and other US hip hop artists.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBCF) will rate UK music videos produced by artists under Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music.
Of the 132 videos submitted to the BBCF so far, 56 are rated 12 and 53 are classified 15. Dizzee Rascal’s “Couple of Stack” is the only video to receive an 18 rating.
The government is also trying to crack down on porn by putting pressure on internet service providers. Prime Minister David Cameron requested that the likes of BT, Virgin Media and Sky introduce porn filters as the government believes it’s the best way to protect children.
But research from Ofcom last July found that the vast majority of new broadband customers in the UK are opting out of these “child friendly” filters when promoted to install them by the service providers.
There’s no denying that there are certain things on the internet that children shouldn’t see but the government needs to be careful when it comes to enforcing censorship. A free and open internet is vital.
States such as North Korea and China are well known for dictating what their citizens can access online. Google, Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram are all blocked by the nation’s ISPs.
As soon as one part of the internet is blocked to one group of people it’s likely that it’ll be easier for Westminster to block another part of the internet to another group of people. Who knows what we will and won’t be able to look at in 10 years time.
As it stands UK citizens are lucky enough to have access to practically anything online but this may not always be the case.