The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has announced plans for a new age-rating system designed to tackle online music videos deemed inappropriate material for young people. The organisation's assistant director, David Austin, said the BBFC was responding to pressure from parents who were concerned about the sexual imagery freely available to children who had access to the web, according to The Guardian.

Miley Cyrus
Inappropriate Content? Miley Cyrus We're Looking At You.

Austin said that a pilot project was being developed in association with Google and the UK music industry body, BPI, to test how the new classification guidelines might work with voluntary submissions to review, including content from Beyoncé, Metallica and Robbie Williams.

"Google has said that if we start to age-rate videos, they will carry the BBFC age rating," Austin said. "They've also said they will look at the possibility of parental controls in relation to age rating." The board's latest guidance states "The classification of a music video will take account of any elements which are of concern to parents, including glamorisation of behaviour which they consider inappropriate."

Robin Thicke
Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' Drew Criticism For Sexual Content.

The new guidance is based on a consultation with 10,000 people which found concern related to the perceived pornographic content of some music videos and the normalisation of drug use and self-harm. "A specific issue highlighted by the consultation is in relation to sexual content, where the public is particularly concerned about the sexualisation of girls, and pornography. The content of music videos and the ease of accessibility of online porn are special worries," reads the BBFC website.

Though there are concerns over how content created abroad could be regulated, the BBFC is confident that there are solutions to parent concerns: "In order for such for age ratings to be really effective, BPI believes that they need to be accompanied by automatic filters that parents can activate to ensure that their children only view age-appropriate material online," said a BPI spokesman.

Robbie Williams
Videos From Artist Including Robbie Williams Have Already Been Submitted For Review.

One of last year's most prominent yet incendiary videos, Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines,' sparked notoriety and outrage with its overt sexual themes. Similarly, Miley Cyrus' sexually suggestive 'Wrecking Ball' video also drew complaints from parents who worried about children's' exposure to such content with claims that music videos were locked in a "race to the bottom."

The new BBFC guidance will come into force on the 24th February, and will also take into account a refreshed approach to film classifications. This will include taking into greater account the psychological impact of horror films after The Woman In Black became the most complained-about film of the last few years due to its 12A rating.