Maxwell leads debate

Stewart Maxwell MSP West Scotland / Scottish National Party.
Stewart Maxwell MSP West Scotland / Scottish National Party.

Stewart Maxwell took the lead in a debate in the Scottish Parliament about ways to protect young people and vulnerable groups from harmful online content.

The MSP used the time to also praise the work of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) for its work on the regulation of musing videos that are produced in the UK.

The BBFC intends to introduce an age-rating classification system along the lines of that used by the film industry.

Mr Maxwell said it was an important step towards giving clear guidelines for parents and children abour explicit content in music videos.

An agreement among the big players — Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music — means a more robust system of classification will be introduced for music videos.

Also the debate highlighted the announcement by four of the UK’s major mobile networks — EE,O2, Three and Vodaphone — that mobile content rated 18 or R18 by the BBFC would be protected behid aceess controls and internet filters.

The West of Scotland MSP said: “I was pleased to have the opportunity to lead a debate in parliament on the issue of protecting children and vulnerable people from inappropriate content online.

“Parents tell me that they are increasingly concerned about how easily children can access explicit content online.

“As a parent myself, it’s clear that changes in technology have made protecting children and vulnerable groups from viewing harmful and explicit material increasingly difficult.

“The internet has changed the way music videos are viewed. In the past, music and videos screened through radio and television stations were licensed and regulated.

“Nowadays, music and video producers can talk directly to a child without the parents scrutinising or authorising what is being shown.

“The lyrics and images in certain music videos are completely innappropriate for children and research indicates that the introduction of age ratings for online music videos would be welcomed by most parents.

“It’s good news that the UK music industry has taken action to establish age-rating classifications for online music videos produced in this country.

“However, it is worrying that this agreement does not cover non-UK produced videos and I would call on music labels from outside of the UK to submit their online music videos for classification by the BBFC before being made available here.”

Mr Maxwell went on to stress that it was in no way about banning material suitable for adult viewing.

He continued: “It is about ensuring that material that is not suitable for children is not available for children.

“There is undoubtedly more we can do to protect under 18s from being exposed to adult material online.”