U – Universal, suitable for all
Different children are upset by different things, so it is sometimes difficult to say what might upset a particular child. However, U films should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over. If there is any violence, threat or horror in a U film, it should be over quickly and the film should tell children that everything will turn out okay. Films and DVDs for children should make clear to them the difference between right and wrong.
Nothing in any film or DVD should break the law. Examiners sometimes suggest films are given a higher rating or even cut if there is anything which could be harmful. With films aimed at very young children, Examiners must think carefully about what those children know about and what might scare, confuse or upset them.
The tone of a work, how it makes an audience feel, is very important. At U, Examiners think carefully about how even very young children might react to different scenes, how they are filmed, and the lasting impression the film gives the people watching it.
Age rating issues for U
• Theme/Topics - Films and DVDs should be about subjects which are generally suitable for younger audiences.
• Language – At the most there may be occasional very mild bad language.
• Nudity - There can be occasional glimpses of people who have no clothes on, as long as they are not linked to romantic activities.
• Sex and relationships - Only mild references (e.g. to 'making love') and mild behaviour (e.g. kissing) are allowed.
• Violence and Threat - Mild violence only. Some mild threat and menace is allowed.
• Dangerous Behaviour - There should be no dangerous behaviour that can be easily copied by young children.
• Weapons - There should be no focus on weapons that are realistic or easy to get hold of.
• Horror - Moments with ghosts, witches and monsters should be over quickly and not be too scary. Nothing at U should really frighten or disturb young viewers. The film or DVD should tell children that everything is okay.
• Drugs - Drugs should not be mentioned, unless the film or DVD teaches that drugs are dangerous.
• Discrimination - There can be no language or behaviour shown that would offend a person’s religion, colour, gender, sexuality or disability, unless the film or DVD teaches it to be wrong.