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IFCO launches website aimed at helping parents make informed viewing choices for children

The website lists all films currently on release in Ireland, as well as upcoming releases.

Image: Shutterstock/Estrada Anton

THE IRISH FILM Classification Office (IFCO) has launched a new website aimed at helping parents make informed viewing choices for their children. 

The website lists all films currently on release in Ireland, as well as upcoming releases. 

In addition to listing the age rating awarded by IFCO and details of the genre of film, each entry also provides a guide to any violence, drugs, sex/nudity and language in the film. 

IFCO says it is particularly hoped that the information will prove useful in helping parents and guardians to make decisions regarding their children’s safety and welfare in their viewing choices. 

“The new IFCO website is designed to be more user friendly and brings an improved design and additional information to users. I hope members of the public, and particularly parents and guardians, will find the website helpful,” Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton said, launching the website yesterday. 

We have moved into an era of immediate access to information coupled with public expectations that State bodies will provide accurate and up-to-date information at the touch of a button.

“I am impressed to note that IFCO continues to improve and refine its provision of information to meet that evolving demand.” 

Annual report

Minister Stanton and Ireland’s director of film classification, Ger Connolly, also launched IFCO’s annual report for 2018 yesterday. 

Last year, IFCO certified 448 films for cinema release in Ireland, according to the report. This is in line with 2017′s figures. 

There were two appeals made against certifications over the course of the year – the 18 certification awarded to The First Purge and the 12A certification awarded to Bumblebee. In both cases, the Classifications of Films Appeals Board upheld IFCO’s decisions. 

In addition, 18 complaints were received from the public relating to classifications awarded. The most received in respect of any one title was six, in the case of Show Dogs, a comedy classified as PG for “mild violence, language and rude humour”. Of these, two were from people who had not seen the film.

There was a decline of approximately 15% in the number of video/DVDs submitted to IFCO for certification in 2018, though the total number of video works certified was 2,621.

This decline is likely to be indicative of the changing preferences of the public in terms of how they access films and as a result, it is likely that a decrease in such applications will continue, according to IFCO.

IFCO said it has made efforts to address this with its new online delivery system.

Video games

IFCO also has a role when it comes to video games. 

During 2018, the Office examined 36 games rated 18 by the Pan European Games Information System (PEGI) to ensure compliance with provisions of the Video Recordings Act 1989.

Ireland has been a member of PEGI, a self-regulated age rating system for video games, since the foundation of this system in 2003.

Connolly, as Director of Film Classification, is a member of the PEGI Council which establishes classification criteria and is also a member of the PEGI Complaints Board which adjudicates on classification appeals.

“I was interested to learn that IFCO plans to have nationwide research conducted into the current public attitudes and expectations of its work. I look forward to hearing the results of that research,” Minister Stanton said. 

“Just as our society’s expectations have moved from censorship to classification, further developments in this area are to be expected as time moves on. I am encouraged by the positivity of the approach adopted by IFCO in being forward looking, open and embracing change.”

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