July 14, 2024
Ireland's Film Classifications to Include New Warnings on Self-Harm and Bullying

Ireland's Film Classifications to Include New Warnings on Self-Harm and Bullying

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Ireland’s Film Classifications to Include New Warnings on Self-Harm and Bullying

Dublin : The Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO), which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, is considering significant changes to its film advisory system. These changes include adding specific warnings for self-harm and bullying in its classification guidelines, currently in draft form and open for public consultation.

Public Contribution Invited

The IFCO is inviting the public to provide input on how films should be classified and what advisories related to issues such as sex and violence should be included before films are released. This initiative is based on a Behaviour & Attitudes survey that assessed public views on the suitability of existing classification guidelines.

Key Findings from the Survey

The research focused on feedback from parents regarding the portrayal of young people on screen and the importance of context in classification. Among teenagers, sexual violence, suicide, and the portrayal of young people were identified as areas needing the most guidance and boundaries. Additionally, content affecting mental health was highlighted as a significant concern.

Expanded ‘Dangerous Behaviour’ Category

In response to these findings, the revised guidelines propose expanding the ‘drugs’ category to ‘dangerous behaviour.’ This new category would encompass self-harm, drug misuse, criminal activity, and antisocial behaviour. Dr. Ciarán Kissane, Director of Film Classification, stated that all these elements would be classified under ‘dangerous behaviour’ rather than having separate categories for each.

Classification Brackets to Remain Unchanged

The existing classification brackets will remain the same: G (general), PG (parental guidance), 12A (suitable for under-12s accompanied by parents), 15A (suitable for under-15s, but only if accompanied by a parent), 16 (not suitable for children under 16), and 18 (not suitable for anyone under the age of 18).

Ireland's Film Classifications to Include New Warnings on Self-Harm and Bullying
Ireland’s Film Classifications to Include New Warnings on Self-Harm and Bullying

Evolving from Past Censorship

The era of stringent censorship by the Irish Film Censor’s Office is long gone. The last film banned in Ireland was in 2005, and with the abundance of online content, such measures are neither feasible nor desirable anymore.

Current Trends in Film Classification

Last year, three-quarters of all films were deemed suitable for 15A and under. Only two percent of films were classified as unsuitable for under-18s. The film receiving the most complaints was “The Man Called Otto” starring Tom Hanks, with seven complaints out of the 26 received by IFCO.

Box Office Hits

The IFCO annual report highlights “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” as the two biggest box office hits in Ireland last year, with “Barbie” grossing nearly €10 million and “Oppenheimer” almost €6.5 million.

Stay Informed

As the guidelines evolve, stay informed about the changes and their implications for the classification of films in Ireland. Your input can help shape a responsible and sensitive film classification system.


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