Why are ratings and content warnings important for me and my whānau?


Caitlin on June 30, 2022

“The title sounded harmless and there was no indication that it might be a horror movie.

It started off with lovely scenery, introducing the characters…the horrific events and footage took me completely by surprise.

I immediately switched off but that of course was already too late.”

- Quote taken from 'What We're Watching' Report

Have you been caught out before and watched something that has really stuck? When we set ratings and content warnings we are thinking about the different sensitivities that people might have living here in Aotearoa. The thing is, we’re all different and react differently to what we see on screen and online. What somebody loves might be something that terrifies someone else. And this is not just about age and maturity. People of all ages can have different sensitives to different things.

What we look out for are things that we know New Zealander’s find challenging when it comes to what they watch, see and play. This includes things like sex, horror, crime, cruelty and violence. Then we measure how impactful these scenes might be – are they long, really detailed or short and without much going on?

We also look out for mental health themes, offensive language and anything people might copy, as these are the things that can really affect some people, like our rangatahi.

When you’re choosing something to watch or play, make sure you check out the rating and the content warning. This will give you an idea if anything challenging will come up, and how detailed it might be.

Remember to make sure that if you are watching with anyone else that they are also okay with the challenging things that might pop up. It isn’t okay to force anyone to watch anything they are not ready for or something that scares them.



Further reading:

What We’re Watching Report

Find a rating

Talking with young people about what they’re watching

Brain development – how it works, why it matters

How we classify content in New Zealand

Help information:

Negative or sensitive content can make us feel not great. It is okay to not be okay. Take a break and talk to your friends or whānau.

Don’t know who to talk to? Free call or text 1737 for more support.

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