David Knight - 18th Aug 2014

Music videos on YouTube and Vevo will carry an age classification from October, as part of a pilot scheme announced today (Monday August 18th) by British prime minister David Cameron.

The long-anticipated action by UK government on the relatively unregulated nature of music video viewing and consumption on the internet, is happening as part of a pilot scheme being operated by YouTube, leading music video service VEVO and the British Board of Classification.

Speaking to the Relationships Alliance, Cameron described the move as an attempt to bring rules for watching online videos into line with content viewed on TV and elsewhere, to protect children from "graphic content", beyond existing measures such as making 'family-friendly filters' the default setting for new online customers.

"Today we're going even further," said Cameron. "From October, we're going to help parents protect their children from some of the graphic content in online music videos by working with the British Board of Film Classification, Vevo and YouTube to pilot the age rating of these videos." 

Cameron, who talked about how he had banned his own children from watching some videos, stated that the intention was to apply 'offline' regulations to the internet. "In as far as it is possible, we should try to make sure that the rules that exist offline exist online," he said. "So if you want to go and buy a music video offline there are age restrictions on it. We should try and recreate that system on the internet."

Cameron's announcement comes after increasingly vocal opposition to the sexual depiction of women - particularly women of colour - in music videos from women's groups in the past couple of years. A recent report commissioned by women's groups EVAW Coalition, Imkaan and Object, described sexism and racism as being 'endemic' in music videos, citing the videos for Calvin Harris's Summer, DJ Snake's Turn Down for What, and Basement Jaxx's Never Say Never, as well as Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines (above) and Get Her Back, arguing in favour of compulsory age ratings for all music videos.

David Knight - 18th Aug 2014

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