Media regulation becomes less important as society progresses


1 desensitisation- as people are exposed to more content there is more need for regulation

The increase in the violence in films is often blamed for violent crimes. For example the murder of James Bulger was blamed on the fact that the attackers had seen the film ‘Child’s play’ as the media compared the film plot and the case together.

Films being used as an inspiration for a crime would mean that media regulations become more important and society progresses and people become desensitised to extreme violence.

In addition: The bobo doll experiment- aimed to prove the link between watching violent film and acting violently

However: The Virginia Tech Shootings are seen as an example of this negative influence – in 2007, Seung-Hui Cho massacred 32 students and then killed. It was reported that his actions may have been heavily influenced by the violent film ‘Oldboy’ as it could be said to closely follow the plot.

However, it was later reported that Cho had many mental disorders, which questions this case as evidence that violent films can have general effect on children but instead be specifically effective for mentally unstable people


2  Accessing media– The internet has made it easier to get content even when the content is banned and the user is underage

For example: Hate crime is banned but on the IMDB reviews many people have commented that they watched the film by ordering it from abroad

Therefore: Even though the BBFC refused to give the film a certificate it can still be accessed easily on DVD by ordering it from other countries

Previously this would not have been an option and the content would have remained unseen but as the internet revolutionises shopping the content becomes relatively easy to get.

Therefore:  the regulations have become less effective and yet, arguably, more important as there are so many other ways of accessing age restricted content physically (DVD) that need to be regulated against



3  As video game technology improved the game content becomes more graphic

Yet: the public perception of these games is that they are toys, many parents buy their children age restricted content underage because they see it as just a game

In addition: The content providers are aware that the product is being used by people underage and therefore target the content at those under 18

This public perception of the product means that the regulations are less effective as adults are less willing to enforce them due to naivety about the graphic content. In this case regulations become much more important than in the past as part of regulation is education of the content. Better education of the content of the game would mean that those buying the game would be more willing to regulate the game once it has been sold.

Secondly: due to game technology improving, games now have many more options

PEGI are unable to test the whole game due to the amount of possible options

GTA 5- when GTA 5 was released there was some content on the game that could be unlocked that allowed the player to rape characters in the game. This content was not flagged up to PEGI and was therefore not regulated or warned against

Therefore: Regulation becomes much more important as games become more realistic and as the options on the game become wider it is not enough to trust the game producers to flag up the controversial content for review.



Piracy becoming normalised- piracy is much more accessible and has become almost normal 

As piracy happens in the home people feel more safe and normal about it

For example: Kodi boxes- so many people have it that it seems normal, people sometimes don’t even realise its illegal.

They think they won’t get caught and therefore don’t care

Kodi has no moral obligation to regulate anything

Means that media regulation is less important when there are increasingly popular ways of getting around the regulations-it is less relevant

Conclusion:Although there is debate as to how the media effects society, it is true that the regulations need to become prioritised and more important in order to maintain the protection on society they once had.


INTRODUCTION:  Media regulations in the U.K are decided by the BBFC and PEGI. The British Film Institute and Pan-European game information decide the ratings on film and games and makes judgements on an individual basis. To enforce these decisions there are various regulations, as society progresses depictions of violence, sex, blasphemy etc become less taboo. Therefore it could be argued that media regulations have become less important as the public don’t need to be protected as much. The ways in which the internet has revolutionised how we consume media are countless. Therefore the regulations that were set are not always necessary for the media today.





screen-shot-2017-03-23-at-10-33-51PEGI stands for Pan-European game information and is the censoring body across Europe for video games. PEGI was launched in 2003 as video games became more popular. Video games are now played by millions of players throughout Europe. In the UK, 37 % of the population aged between 16 and 49 describe themselves as ‘active gamers’. In comparison, in Spain and Finland 28% of the population aged 16 and 49 are defined as ‘active gamers’. While most games (49%) are suitable for players of all ages there are many that are only suitable for older children and young teenagers. There are also some games (4%) that are made for adults only. PEGI is a non profit organisation that is backed by the major gaming producers such as SONY and Nintendo.

The age rating system is in place to protect users from content that is deemed unsuitable. This is done through age ratings. The age ratings are decided on suitability not difficulty.


The British Board of Film Classification is an independent, non-governmental body which has classified cinema films since it was set up in 1912 and videos/ DVDs since the Video Recordings Act was passed in 1984.

The BBFC has 7 ratings:

U- anyone can see this film regardless of age

PG- anyone can see this film however parental guidance is advised so that the parents can make a judgement as to whether the content of the film is suitable for the child

12- only people of 12 years or older can view or buy the film

12A- this rating is only in cinemas- it means that people 12 years and above can watch the film and those below 12 can watch the film as long as they are accompanied by an adult

15- people 15 and above can watch the film

18- people 18 and above can watch the film

banned- cinemas and retailers cannot show or sell the film regardless of age

Upon completion of a film the film is sent to the BBFC. The BBFC sends the film back with a rating. If the film wants to secure a lower age rating the BBFC can offer advice as to what needs to be changed or cut. The film can be reviewed multiple times before it has a final rating that both the BBFC and the production company are happy with. Very rarely films are deemed to graphic or inappropriate to be released at all, these films are banned.

When submitting a film there is a fee. This is just to cover the costs of running the BBFC as it is a non profit organisation. The cost of rating a film is based on the length of film submitted.

Every year the BBFC must release an annual report which outlines the activities and classification decisions of the organisation. These reports are available to all members the public to download as the organisation serves the public.

Explain which forms of media regulation are the most effective, which are not so, and your reasons for both

Explain which forms of media regulation are the most effective, which are not so, and your reasons for both.

Forms of regulation and how effective they are:

  1. Cinema- effective- can regulate who gets in to the venue to see the content: effective as far as the cinema enforces the rules.
  2. Shops- mostly effective- can regulate who obtains the content as far as the retailers enforces the rules- but once the content is bought there is no control over who sees the footage
  3. VOD and other streaming sites- do not have to stick to BBFC guidelines- there are options for parental locks-asks for confirmation of age but can lie
  4. piracy dvds/streaming sites- no regulation over who sees it

Forms of regulation in the cinema:

  • Entrance to the venue is based on conformation of age by using I.D if the age is doubted- there is a ‘physical gatekeeper’ to prevent underage people seeing the film.
  • BUT it is conditional on the venue upholding the law and enforcing the no entry policy to those underage
  • BUT The judgement on whether the person is of age or not is at the discretion of the ‘Gatekeeper’, who’s judgement can be wrong
  • districts can decide not to show certain films in local cinemas
  • Human centipede two- the film was banned initially until 3 minutes of cuts were made- therefore you were unable to see the full film in cinemas regardless of age
  • The woman in black- was rated a 12A in cinemas- but this was to the discretion of parents whether they would allow their children under 12 to see the film

Forms of regulation in retail:

  • Shops have a challenge policy which is dependant on the age: for example when buying a 18 film most shops have a challenge 25 policy- this means that if you are judged to look under 25 you will be I.D-ed to check that you are 18 or over
  • However this judgement is completely subjective of the person working
  • There are criminal ways around this through shoplifting- in some shops the content can be easily stolen by someone who is underage
  • Dvd can be rewatched and taken out of content- therefore a scene which could be considered a 15 normally would be an 18 on dvd as the content could have a different effect and be seen in a different tone to the viewer.
  • Once the DVD is bought there is no way of regulating who sees the footage, therefore an 18 film, once bought, could quite easily end up being watched by a child.
  • Online ordering- Hate crime is banned in the UK as the whole tone and nature of the film would be unsuitable regardless of any cuts- however on viewing IMDB there are many reviews for it as people order it from different countries with less regulation- where theres a will theres a way

Forms of regulation on video on demand and online streaming sites:

  • Sites such as Netflix and iTunes have options to set up a child lock to regulate the content that can be viewed by young people
  • However this is at the discretion of the parents/guardians
  • underage people can sign up to sites such as Netflix without parental consent and are able to view content that is 18+
  • many sites ask people to enter their age to gain access but it is easy to lie
  • Any one with a debit or credit card can pay for content on the internet
  • Similar to DVD, the content can be rewatched and taken out of context
  • Human centipede 2- Netflix and other streaming sites do not have to stick to the decisions of the BBFC- therefore the content could be viewed on the site but still banned in cinemas by the BBFC- However due to the social pressure of the BBFC streaming sites tend to stick to the decisions of the BBFC- Their discretion

Forms of regulation with piracy:

  • No regulation-access to the internet is access to piracy
  • DVD piracy- obviously not sold through official retailers with any moral obligation
  • law chases down sites such as Putlocker- but these organisations then move to new Url’s such as ‘Putlocker123’ and ‘putlocker9’
  • The internet has normalised piracy as many people do it and it is so easy to do- do not have to approach someone for a physical copy- the modern nature of obtaining pirated content makes it seem not criminal as you don’t have to leave the comfort of home and the way it is talked about on social media makes it seem as though everyone is doing it and therefore it is moral

Video game regulation:

  • The content of films is known- it is easy to watch all the film and any extended features and make a judgement however with a game there are multiple possibilities dependant on the actions of the player- therefore PEGI cannot review all of the options- it is trusted that the game creaters will flag up possible problems in the game
  • This was the case in GTA5 in which there was an unlock-able feature of the game that allowed the character to
  • Video games are seen as toys by the public, some of whom are ignorant to the content, and therefore it is seen as socially acceptable to buy age restricted content for a young person as a gift
  • The content of the games are clearly aimed at underage players- The themes of GTA 5 are tailored towards a younger audience- the gaming companies are aware it is predominantly underage people who are playing the game- ineffective regulation



Explain which forms of media regulation are the most effective, which are not so, and your reasons for both

Introduction: explain- there are multiple types of regulation-some of them are effective and others are not. regulations is predominantly enforced by the the BBFC and PEGI.

thesis: regulation of higher rated films is stricter and therefore more effective- the regulation of a film like hate crime is stricter than the regulation of a film like the woman in black

explain how you’re going to proceed using your material: using examples of successful forms of regulation of higher rated films I will show how regulation is effective. Using examples of less successful examples of regulation I will show that the regulation of lower rated films is unsuccessful. in addition I will use the case studies of video games to show that the regulation of video games is less successful due to the media effects theory and the publics’ perception of video games in comparison to film- public think video games are toys and are ignorant but take films more seriously an respect the regulations in place more.

Paragraph 1: The regulation of higher rated films

banned films have the highest regulation as they are never released to the public- this is a highly effective form of regulation as there is no way to obtain the footage in the country

only way to see the film is through piracy or to order it through the internet from another country in which it is not banned

Because the content of the film is taken seriously the regulation is strict and therefore highly effective

HATE CRIME- the film is banned in the UK on the judgement of the BBFC because of the tone ad content of the film. Because of this, the film is unable to obtain in the country. The film is only viewable by buying it on the internet (see imdb reviews)

Paragraph 2: cinema regulation

for cinema regulation there is a physical gatekeeper who prevents people who are underage getting into the picture. This is an effective method of regulation as there is no way of underage people entering and seeing the content.

The regulation works as far as the venue enforces it.

Regulation of the woman in black: the woman in black had a 12a rating- this meant that anyone under 12 had to have an adult with them in order to see the film. This meant that the parent or guardian of the person made a judgement as to whether the content of the film was appropriate for the child.

The BBFC ensured that the film had cuts in order for it to obtain the 12a rating that the film company wanted. The film company made cuts to the audio of the film in order to make it less tense for a younger audience- this meant it was effectively regulated so that it was appropriate for a younger audience…

Paragraph 3: Building on this…the woman in black was released on DVD as a 15- this regulation is to ensure that people under 15 cannot watch the film as on DVD it would be easy for them to watch it without an adult

DVD regulation is effective as it has a physical gatekeeper to stop underage people buying the DVD…

However once the film is bought there is nothing to stop younger people seeing the film.

Media effects theory- the public perception of films is accurate as the majority of adults are able to m make a responsible decision as to what is appropriate for a child, they take age ratings of films more seriously as they understand what the content can be

However- the perception of video games is different- people see video games as toys and therefore are more lenient on regulating the content at home

there is an impression that most people play 18 games underage which makes it socially acceptable

COD- the themes and tone of the video game are styled towards young people rather than the age regulated 18 group- the content designers know that the content is not being consumed by the appropriate age group so aim the game towards them-

this regulation is reasonably ineffective as societal views regarding video game regulation is relaxed and therefore people are less willing to enforce it in the home

Paragraph 4: Piracy

Piracy is completely unregulated as it is a criminal offence- there is no moral obligation to regulate the content

government aims to take sites such as ‘put locker’ down but these sites move to different urls such as ‘putlocker9’ and ‘putlocker123’- anyone with access to the internet can access anything to watch without any regulation.


Paragraph 5: Online sites such as Netflix and iTunes

On these sites there are options for parental locks but access to these sites don’t need parental permission originally

many sites require you to put your date of birth in to confirm your age but obviously you can just lie and watch content underage

Conclusion: I don’t know




ESSAY: Explain which forms of media regulation are the most effective, which are not so, and your reasons for both

Media regulations in the U.K are decided by the BBFC and PEGI. The British Film Institute  and Pan-European game information decide the ratings on film and games and makes judgements on an individual basis. To enforce these decisions there are various regulations, some of these regulations are effective whilst others are less so. It could be argued that the higher rating a film or video game gets the more strictly the regulations are enforced and therefore the more effective they are. Using the case studies I will explain which forms of media regulation work the best and how a higher rated film is more strictly and effectively regulated. I will explain using examples and media effects theory how the perceptions of different mediums influence how strictly and effectively the regulations are enforced.

The regulations on banned films are more effective as they are stricter. There are very few films considered so bad by the BBFC that they are not given a certificate and therefore cannot be released to the public in cinemas or retail. One of these films is ‘Hate Crime’. The film was refused a rating by the BBFC due to the relentlessly violent content and anti-Semitic message. This is the highest form of regulation as the film was refused permission to be shown to the public. It could be argued that this is the highest form of regulation as the content is simply not available. Therefore excluding an option to see the film is the most effective form of regulation. However this regulation can be bypassed by ordering the film online from another country in which it is not banned. Therefore this regulation is only effective to a certain extent and not completely.

This is also the case for films shown in the cinema. Higher rated films in the cinema require I.D to get in whereas the lower rated films are viewed by children based on the parent’s judgement. For example The Woman In Black was given a 12a rating, however the film was very close to a 15 and the BBFC required that it had cuts made to reduce the intensity of the film. Had the film been a 15 only people aged 15 and older would have been able to see the film. However at 12a people aged under 12 can see the film based on the judgement of an accompanying adult. Therefore even though the content of the film is judged generally to only be suitable for those 12 and over the regulating is less strict than that of a 15 or 18 as the parent/guardian is allowed to make their own judgement. The regulation of the films by cinema is done using a ‘physical gatekeeper’ to stop anyone underage getting into the screening. This is effective as far as the cinema enforces the regulations. However