Kijkwijzer: The Dutch Rating System for Audiovisual Productions

Communications 27 (1):79-102 (2002)
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Kijkwijzer is the name of the new Dutch rating system in use since early 2001 to provide information about the possible harmful effects of movies, home videos and television programs on young people. The rating system is meant to provide audiovisual productions with both age-based and content-based ratings. It is designed to enable self-regulation by the audio-visual sector. The development of Kijkwijzer, which took place under the auspices of NICAM, the Netherlands Institute for the Classification of Audiovisual Media, is based on consumer research among Dutch parents, as well as theories and research on children and the media. The consumer survey that preceded the development of Kijkwijzer revealed that 70% of Dutch parents indicated that they would use a rating system. The majority of parents liked to receive information on the content of media productions, particularly about violence, frightening content, sexual depictions, discrimination, drug abuse, and coarse language. Parents also wanted age categories. Kijkwijzer distinguishes four age categories: All Ages, 6, 12 and 16. This article gives an overview and account of the various principles underlying Kijkwijzer version 1.1. It also offers suggestions for improvement of future versions of Kijkwijzer.



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