Welcome to the Classification Office newsletter Behind the Screens, where we share our latest research, resources, and classification news.

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Behind the Screens

July 2024

Our July newsletter features tips for parents and handling tough storylines, cinema guides for the school holidays, and the Chief Censor's recent experience at the International Association for Media and Communications Research (IAMCR) conference in Christchurch.

June 2024

What's more harmful? Dragons or sharks? We reflect on the daily choices families make about content, and what might be appropriate for their children and teenagers.

May 2024

Media literacy, misogyny and mental health are top of mind for us this month. We highlight our new research release. We break down the ratings for new releases Furiosa, The Idea of You, and Shōgun. And we’ve created space for media studies students to blog about their personal experiences of media and keeping safe when using media.

Online Misogyny and Violent Extremism Research

We release our latest research on the topic with a comprehensive online resource for deeper analysis, along with a summary report of our findings.

April 2024

We have lots to share this month: blogs on Fallout and Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, reflections from our Chief Censor on the role of public servants in reducing harm and creating safer communities, and research from the United Kingdom into the protection of children online.

March 2024

The Academy Awards have surprised and delighted us for another year, we round up the featured decisions for the Oscar winners so New Zealanders know what to expect before watching them. Our Chief Censor talks about our soon-to-be published Online Misogyny research at an International Women's Day webinar hosted by the National Council of Women of New Zealand. On March 15, the Chief Censor attends the Unity Summit, part of Unity Week commemorations in Christchurch for March 15.

January/February 2024

Over the summer, New Zealanders checked out our content guides for blockbuster films so they can make an informed decision for them and their whānau. We also share some tips on managing screen time and having a safe gaming experience with our latest blogs.

Newsletter archive

Behind the Screens: 2023

December 2023

Our Chief Censor reflects on Te Mana Whaakatu ongoing mahi of delivering information and ratings for New Zealanders to help them make informed choices about what they, and their rangatahi and tamariki, watch. This past month we released our 2022/23 Annual Report, our Youth Advisory Panel Annual Report, and provided resources to support us all as harmful content comes out of Israel and Gaza.

November 2023

There is a lot of distressing content being shared online and it can overwhelm our social feeds. We highlight tools, tips, and services so you and your loved ones can safely navigate online. Our Chief Censor and Deputy Chief Censor reflect on the insightful Breaking Glass Ceilings and Building Bridges conference hosted by Netsafe and the Australian eSafety Commissioner.

October 2023

One of our staff shares some tips on how to safely embrace quality screen time during holiday time or weekend time, with a focus on parental controls. The latest NZ On Air research shows digital media is big in Aotearoa, with 97 minutes spent daily on streaming platforms. We're not here to judge quantity or quality of screen time but we aim to help New Zealanders and whānau make safe and informed screen time choices.

September 2023

September means a change of season, and a fresh look at te reo through the activities that make up Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. We highlight five must-see Māori movies during the month to inspire our Reo Māori and said haere rā to one of our much-loved colleagues.

August 2023

Barbie and Oppenheimer blew up our website as audiences sought guidance about how age-appropriate the two biggest films of the year are and we highlight Netsafe's sex*tor*tion education campaign.

July 2023

Our team uses their expertise and insights to prepare a submission for the Safer Online Services and Media Platforms review and a few of our staff members have been at various talks to showcase the important mahi our Office does to help protect New Zealanders.

June 2023

The power and the potential of Artificial Intelligence is front of mind for our team, we release our latest research report, and public consultation opens for the reform of key regulations that will impact media platforms operating in New Zealand.

May 2023

Microsoft launched the Xbox Gaming Safety Toolkit in Aotearoa and Australia for whānau and gamers! Our research on pornography was discussed with students, and our Chief Censor celebrated New Zealand Sign Language Week 2023 by trying #GiveItAGo!

April 2023

We spotlight the childhood experience of watching movies at sleepovers that may not be age-appropriate, and how parental controls can help keep our whānau safe. We've also launched a Requests for Proposals for our upcoming research project on body image in partnership with Netsafe.

March 2023

We share out thoughts on this year's Academy Awards and our excitement for the long-awaited return of Censor for A Day.

January/February 2023

Our first newsletter of 2023 dives into a variety of topics: nudity on screen, explaining to tamariki why there are rules around what they can watch, ratings for new release films and series, how we can help libraries, and more.

Behind the Screens: 2021

December 2021

We’re mixing up our regular dispatch this month to bring joy with a helpful holiday season viewing guide.

November 2021

Our November dispatch from Te Mana Whakaatu Classification Office draws a line under the lows and highs of 2021.

October 2021

October's newsletter looks at Squid Game, examines how we classify horror, and considers porn fantasies.

September 2021

We welcome our new Deputy Chief Censor, talk about the collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, and touch on some recent decisions.

August 2021

August's newsletter is about conferences, a great NZ film, and what we actually do.

July 2021

July's newsletter talks about misinformation and the research we've done about it.

June 2021

We kick off our June newsletter with The Bare Facts, a collaboration with Netsafe to talk about the reality of sending intimate images online.

May 2021

Our news bulletin of Classification Office activities comes to you this month bursting at the seams with ways that we're listening to and working alongside different voices.

April 2021

Difficult classification decisions, rewarding research work and we discuss rating new release title The United States vs. Billie Holiday in our April update. 

March 2021

Our work is changing, essential given the shifts in our media consumption patterns and how they affect real world behaviour. More than ever, it’s crucial we look after each other and ourselves and whānau.

January 2021

It's 2021 and it's time to celebrate sun, happiness and seeing the back of 2020. In this edition you will find good advice around watching sensitive material, links to our holiday content, an update of our Youth Advisory Panel and what we are looking forward to this year.

Behind the Screens: 2022

December 2022

We end the year with our Chief Censor, Caroline Flora's reflection on the year that has been and some awesome holiday tips for whānau.

Parental controls and research report

In this special edition, we share more findings from our research conducted earlier this year, building on the report we released in June and how whānau can take control with parental controls.

November 2022

See how we've collaborated with other agencies, and how we can support your community through education, in our November newsletter.

October 2022

We've been both hosts and guests of international counterparts in October. Find out who we've engaged with, and get the lowdown on the warnings and ratings for this month's spooky shows.

September 2022

Our September newsletter features a win on the world stage with our research partners, and breaks down the content of two new high profile series.

August 2022

We announce some exciting news about our NZ Youth and Porn research series, and share our latest blogs.

July 2022

Meet Caroline Flora, New Zealand's new Chief Censor, and check out our latest blog post and Quick Takes.

New research report

In this special edition, we share the key findings from our latest research report What We're Watching, which shows New Zealanders are worried about harmful content on screen and online.

June 2022

We share the news of the appointment of our new Chief Censor, and our response to the events in Buffalo, New York.

May 2022

In this special edition of our monthly update we pay tribute to our Chief Censor David Shanks whose term comes to an end on Friday 6 May.

April 2022

Our research into pornography will now be helping more teachers and parents to have difficult conversations with rangatahi with the release of a Ministry of Education resource.

March 2022

Our work at Te Mana Whakaatu - Classification Office continues as we all juggle the reality of working-from-home whilst classifying content that might not be suitable to see.

February 2022

A new year brings a fresh new website, and our presentation for parents on Growing Up With Porn is now available online.

Behind the Screens: 2020

December 2020

Meri Kirihimete! And what a year it’s been! We hope this holiday season brings you rest, recuperation, joy and hope for the year ahead. Ngā mihi o Hineraumati, seasons greetings from all of us at the Classification Office.

November 2020

This month we have video presentations from the Chief Censor, some beautiful infographics from our guest speakers, some highly relevant research and some excellent resources from our friends at Ara Taiohi.

October 2020

Click through for an excellent animated resource on brain development, a podcast with media expert Sanjana Hattotuwa, some great coverage of NetHui and a few of our favourite reads this month.

Spring 2020

This month we tackle the CUTIES controversy, take you through our Youth & Porn campaign on Insta, introduce you to how we use te Reo everyday, and let you in on what we got up to for Mental Health Awareness Week.

September 2020

From 2021, streaming platforms will be required to show NZ consumer information. Find out more about the change and what else we've been up to!

August 2020

Interested in the parts of our work that involve online hate and dangerous speech? This month’s newsletter features some great interviews and research on online harassment, incels and racism – check it out!

July 2020

We’ve been busy over the last few months! Click through for all our latest content, including videos, cartoons, a podcast, blogs, AND an update on legislation.

April 2020

The final stage of our two year NZ Youth & Porn research is now available. What do young New Zealanders have to say about online porn, and what does this mean for parents and educators? Find out in our latest newsletter.

March 2020

This special Lockdown Edition covers practical ways to keep you and your whānau safe online during a season of extended screen time. #WatchTogether