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NZ classifications online

Posted on 11 February 2014 by Henry

Today we're celebrating Safer Internet Day 2014, an event which promotes awareness of the challenges that people sometimes face online, and helps inspire confidence in dealing with these challenges - particularly amongst children and young people. These challenges can take many forms, including cyber-bullying, unwanted contact from strangers, privacy issues, and exposure to potentially distressing content like pornography or violence.

Our recent research into young people's views about classification systems and media content, in particular the literature review component, found that concern about online content is widespread amongst young people. We could discuss all of these issues in more depth, but this post will focus on something closer to home (for us at the Classification Office), which is access to movies and video games online.

People generally associate movie and game classifications with the physical environment of retail and rental stores, or in cinemas, along with the popcorn, crying babies and 3D glasses. But what influence do our classifications have when people view movies online, and when they download console and PC games from online stores? In fact, online distributors are increasingly using our classifications when supplying content to New Zealanders. This is great news, because our 2011 public opinion research found that most New Zealanders were supportive of the classification system, and considered classifications very important when choosing movies and games for young people.

Some examples of online distributors who now use kiwi classifications for movies and/or games are: iTunes, Xbox live, Playstation Network, Steam, Quickflix, and Ezyflix. If you can't find a classification you can also search for titles on our website. So whether you're choosing movies or games for yourself, or for someone else, look for our classification information - it's there to help.

If you want to learn more about staying safe online, there's lots of helpful info on the Netsafe and Department of Internal Affairs websites. You can find further information about online content and the classification system on our website.

June 2016: Note that our research has been updated since this blog post was published: Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' Views (2016)

Henry works in the Information Unit at the NZ Office of Film and Literature Classification. His views do not represent those of the Chief Censor or of the Classification Office. The Information Unit provides information to other staff, to the public, and to industry members - they are not involved in assigning classifications. Keep up with our blog posts by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

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