New research by the British Board of FIlm Classification (BBFC) has revealed that more than half (51%) of children aged 6 – 15 choose what to watch all or almost all of the time, without help from their parents.
The research, by YouGov, showed that as many as half (46%) of 6-year olds are regularly making their own decisions about what to watch without asking mum or dad.
Four in 10 (42%) parents say they’re worried about the effect watching disturbing or upsetting content might have on their development.
Six in 10 (63%) parents of 12-15-year olds think that films and TV can be a useful springboard in starting difficult conversations with their children around topics like mental health and sexuality.
And interestingly, three quarters of teens agree (72%).
When it comes to parents with young children, two thirds (65%) with 4-11 years olds say that content can help them start conversations about relationship breakdown, death, illness or bullying.
And their children also agree (66%).
David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said:
“It’s clear from our new research that young people and their parents need the right information to help them choose content well.
“It’s vital for children’s healthy development, and parents’ peace of mind, that they’re confident they’re pressing play on something that won’t cause harm or upset.
“It’s very encouraging that parents – and their children – are approaching each other to talk about depictions of issues they see on screen.
“That’s why we have comprehensive ratings info on our website, alongside our trusted and well-known age ratings, which gives everyone an idea of what to expect.”
Girls are much more likely to talk about their mental health with a parent after watching content on a streaming service – with a quarter of 6 – 15-year-old girls (25%) saying they’ve approached a parent after seeing something, compared to less than one in five (19%) boys.