Age rating

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The age rating is understood as the legally regulated release of films , computer games and music for children and young people from a certain age and under certain conditions or requirements (for example when going to the cinema ) or only for adults .


Film and cinema

The age rating of movies and films that are sold on media of all kinds (such as video, DVD or Blu-Ray Disc) is carried out in Germany by the Voluntary Self-Control of the Film Industry (FSK). The Youth Protection Act largely forbids adults from granting children and young people completely free access to the cinema or access to unapproved video films. However, § 27 JuSchG distinguishes between adults themselves and persons with custody with regard to possible punishment. According to this, a person does not make himself a criminal offense by making films accessible to children for whom he has custody , as long as he does not literally “grossly violate their duty to raise children”.

The FSK approvals are:

Label Current labeling Labeled from April 1, 2003 to November 30, 2008 Marked before April 1, 2003
Age approval logo for media in Germany by de: Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry since December 2008 from 0 FSK released from 0 Approved without age restriction (white) according to § 14 JuSchG FSK Approved without age restriction (white) according to § 7 JÖSchG FSK
Age approval logo for media in Germany by de: Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry since December 2008 from 6 FSK approved from 6 Approved from 6 years (yellow) according to § 14 JuSchG FSK Approved from 6 years (yellow) according to § 7 JÖSchG FSK
Age approval logo for media in Germany by de: Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry since December 2008 from 12 FSK approved from 12 Approved from 12 years (green) according to § 14 JuSchG FSK Approved from 12 years (green) according to § 7 JÖSchG FSK
Age approval logo for media in Germany by de: Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry since December 2008 from 16 FSK approved from 16 Approved from 16 years (blue) according to § 14 JuSchG FSK Approved from 16 years (blue) according to § 7 JÖSchG FSK
Age approval logo for media in Germany by de: Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry since December 2008 from 18 FSK from 18 No youth approval (red) according to § 14 JuSchG FSK Not approved under 18 years (red) according to § 7 JÖSchG FSK
Alternatively: Approved from 18 years (red) according to § 7 JÖSchG FSK

Films that are released in the cinema from the age of 12 may be viewed by children from the age of 6 accompanied by so-called personal custodians according to § 11 Paragraph 2 JuSchG. All other FSK approvals are binding. If a film is published on a carrier medium, it must be marked on the packaging in accordance with its FSK approval: “The new characters are on the front of the cover on the lower left in an area of ​​at least 1200 mm² (3.46 cm × 3.46 cm) and to be attached to the image carrier on an area of ​​at least 250 mm² (1.58 cm × 1.58 cm) ( Section 12 (2) sentence 2 JuSchG). "

Today's "FSK from 18" is simply another name for the approval "No youth approval". The latter is therefore still used on the FSK's release documents. When sharing "Not suitable for young" is, even if this is due to the negative formulation does not sound like a valid FSK share that as prevents the lower clearances that a film on the index of the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons can be set . Films with the approval “Not approved under 18 years”, however, can be indexed.

The approval “No youth approval” for exams for theatrical exploitation differs from the approval for home video. In the cinema screening, the so-called simple youth risk may be given for the film in order to obtain the approval , in contrast to the home video area, where there may be no youth risk at all. For example, the film Planet Terror was shown in the cinema with FSK “No youth release”, whereas on DVD it only received the “No serious risk to young people” seal from the Legal Commission and was later indexed by the BPjM in this version.

Films without approval (including import versions) may only be sold to adults (over 18 years of age).

The FSK approvals do not represent a recommendation about the particular suitability of a film for an age group.

watch TV

Films that have already been checked by the FSK when they were released in theaters or when they were released on carrier media may only be broadcast at certain broadcast times in accordance with the State Treaty on Youth Media Protection:

  • Programs with a release without age restriction or with a release from 6 years of age may be shown at any time of the day or night,
  • In the case of programs with a release from 12 years of age, "the well-being of younger children must be taken into account when choosing the broadcast time" (but only between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.), whereby the broadcasters are left to decide on the placement,
  • Programs with a release from 16 years of age may be shown from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and
  • Programs approved for ages 18 and over may be shown from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. (but does not apply to indexed films, for which an exemption from the BPjM is required).

However, private broadcasters may, if they wish to deviate from these requirements, submit an exemption application to the Voluntary Self-Control Television (FSF). Sometimes - especially for films whose FSK approval is less than 12 years old - the test results in editing requirements. The FSF also issues age ratings for programs that have not yet been checked by the FSK, such as series . If an age verification system is used, as is the case with some pay-TV channels, for example, all FSK or FSF-certified programs can be shown regardless of the time of day and the age rating. If the broadcasters do not adhere to the protection of minors, penalties may be paid to the FSF or a reprimand by the Commission for Protection of Minors in the Media may result.

Public broadcasters are exempt from the age ratings and may grant exceptions at their own discretion. It can happen that FSK-16 films are only shown cut at 10:00 p.m. or uncut at 8:15 p.m. As it is a French broadcaster, ARTE occasionally shows indexed films, even before 11 p.m.

Most of the programs released by the FSK from the age of 16 or 18 are shown with an identification of the television program. This means that the television station usually warns before the start of the film that the following program is not suitable for young people and children under 16/18 years. This warning is intended as a note for parents and legal guardians and may differ in both directions from the FSK age ratings. The information can be found in both free TV and pay TV, with pay TV having an additional block in the form of a code, which enables broadcasters such as Sky to broadcast the program before 10:00 p.m. Foreign broadcasters also use the warning. Arte shows a notice in advance which draws attention to the fact that the following program is not suitable for children and young people. However, it is unclear whether this is an FSK 16. Normally, the warning would simply mean that the show would be approved for ages 18 and over. The television program SF 1 from Switzerland even marks programs from the age of 16 and 18 with an additional symbol under the station logo. It is entirely possible that certain foreign broadcasters only warn against films without youth approval, as in Germany there is no warning against programs for young people from the age of 12.

Computer and video games

The entertainment software self-control (USK) is the responsible body in Germany for the age rating of computer and video games. The USK assigns the classifications “released from 0”, “released from 6”, “released from 12”, “released from 16” and “from 18”. These classifications are laid down in the JuSchG § 14 Paragraph 2. Games without USK age rating may only be sold to adults, like games approved for those aged 18 and over.

For coin-operated electronic video game devices that are set up commercially, the voluntary automatic machine self-control (ASK) is responsible for the age rating .

Legal exams

Examples of labeling with regard to a legal examination that has taken place

In addition to the age ratings, there are also legal opinions on films that have not been checked by the FSK or whose release has been rejected by the FSK - depending on the carrier medium - due to simple or serious harm to young people or criminal concerns. Here, a checked lawyers - Commission ( "JK") of the SPIO a medium to whether a violation made against the youth protection law or criminal concerns. If a film successfully passes the JK process, there is usually a small, rectangular, black and white mark with the imprint SPIO / JK checked (formerly: SPIO / JK-Gutachten - criminally harmless ) on the back of the DVD case. Films with both certification marks of the JK - as well as completely unchecked or those with no approval for young people by the FSK - may in principle only be given to adults. Therefore, a few years ago, the JK imprint also included the statement renting and selling only to adults , which was later omitted and thus causes confusion in retail to this day, as sales staff are not necessarily clear that these media are only intended for people 18 years of age.

Since October 2007 there have been two different SPIO / JK releases with different effects:

  • "SPIO / JK tested: no serious risk to young people" A medium marked in this way may be openly issued in stores in the same way as titles with the FSK approval from 18 up to a possible indexing by BPjM ; sales are only allowed to people aged 18 and over.
  • "SPIO / JK checked: criminally harmless" A medium labeled in this way is automatically subject to the sales and advertising restrictions according to § 15 JuSchG Paragraph 1 No. 1–7; the SPIO therefore assumes a serious risk to young people. Therefore, such a medium must not be openly exhibited in stores. The medium may only be sold “under the counter” if specifically requested by people of legal age. It is equated with indexed titles.

Such JK examinations have the character of a private legal opinion and protect film distributors from criminal prosecution if a court confiscates a published title because of a violation of the StGB . In such cases, there is a so-called unpunished error of prohibition .

For example, in 1983 the distribution company VCL had the film Tanz der Teufel examined by the JK, later it was confiscated for glorifying violence . If the film had not been checked by the JK, those responsible at VCL could have been prosecuted for violating the ban on distribution for media that glorified violence. Another example is the horror film Hostel 2 . Its SPIO / JK-tested DVD version was - although it was shortened by 7 seconds at one point - in June 2008 the first medium confiscated nationwide that had a JK test mark (here unobjectionable under criminal law ) printed on it. Even in the case of media with the lower marking no serious risk to young people , there have been seizures, for example in the long version of Saw 3D - completion .

Such legal reports do not necessarily have to be issued by the SPIO Legal Commission; in principle, the reviewers can be any one or more lawyers. They are also not restricted to films and could, for example, also be obtained for video games that have not been tested (or approved) by the USK. In practice, however, publishers of computer games do not go this way, as they are often members of the BIU , whose code forbids them to publish games that have not been approved by the USK, which it supports. The label "Juristically checked" can be found on media that have been checked by lawyers who are independent from the SPIO. In their effect, these reports are identical (protection from criminal prosecution of the publisher).


movie theater

Cinema films for all federal states except Vienna are assessed in Austria by the youth media commission of the Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture (BMUKK), whose decisions are adopted by the federal states. The commission gives the tested titles an age recommendation and differentiates between the following levels:

  • "Approved for all ages"
  • "Approved from 6 years"
  • "Approved for ages 8+"
  • "Approved from 10 years"
  • "Suitable for ages 12"
  • "Approved for ages 14+"
  • "Not for people under the age of 16"

The approvals and reasons are available online in the film database of the Youth Media Commission. In addition to the age rating, positive labeling can also be given.

In Vienna the examination and approval is carried out by the Film Advisory Board of the City of Vienna. The age levels are the same as those of the Youth Media Commission, with the additional category “Approved for ages 8 and up”.

The rating is somewhat more moderate compared to the German FSK, which means that many films that are approved in Germany, for example, from 16 years, in Austria from 14 years. These age recommendations can either be adopted or changed by the federal states.

watch TV

In accordance with the ORF Act and the Private Television Act applicable to private broadcasters, in the case of television programs that may impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors, the choice of airtime or other measures must be taken to ensure that these programs are usually not seen or heard by minors become. The unencrypted broadcast of programs that are not suitable for children or young people must be announced by acoustic signals or indicated by optical means throughout the program.

The programs ORF eins , ORF 2 and ATV as well as Puls 4 , which can be received throughout Austria, display a warning during the entire film next to their station logo in accordance with these regulations, if the film is not suitable for young people. In the ORF programs, the “X” stands for “Not for children” and “O” for “Only for adults”. ATV displays a "!" (Callsign) next to the station logo. An agreement has existed between the ORF and the Youth Media Commission since July 2001: ORF has various films and series checked by the Youth Media Commission to determine whether they are suitable for children or young people. In addition, the ORF has a “K”, which signals “Recommended for children”.

DVD and video

No rental or sale to children and young people Logo.jpg

There is no age rating for carrier media in Austria. These usually have the German FSK approvals, which, however, are not legally binding.

Many Austrian labels often have a small rectangular symbol on the back of the film with the inscription: no rental or sale to children and young people . However, this logo is also not legally binding. Films with this logo are to be regarded as unchecked.

Computer and video games

As with films, there are no mandatory age ratings for computer and video games. Since April 2003, games have been labeled with the non-binding age recommendations of the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) and occasionally also those of the entertainment software self-regulation (USK) applicable in Germany . However, these markings are not age ratings, but pure recommendations and are therefore not mandatory.


movie theater

Until the end of 2012, different regulations for the age of admission to the films applied to cinema films in the cantons. This resulted in different entry ages in the cantons. This was hardly understood any more, especially in small-scale Switzerland.

That is why the Swiss Commission for the Protection of Young People in Film was founded. It gives recommendations for the cantons and for the industry on the age of admission for public film screenings and for films on video recording media (mostly DVD or Blu-ray Disc). The recommendations are either based on the age recommendation of the German Voluntary Self-Control of the Film Industry (FSK) or they are made by the Swiss Commission in the film itself. The commission adheres to the following age ratings: from 0, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 years. In addition to the age at which films are allowed to be shown to the public, the Commission can also recommend an age that it deems appropriate for viewing the film (recommended age). This is then above the admission age.

The cantons are responsible for enacting legal provisions to comply with these age recommendations. 12 cantons oblige the organizers by law to declare an age for the films shown, the other cantons rely on the cinema operators to check themselves.


The industry plays an important role in Switzerland with regard to compliance with age ratings when selling or renting films. The Swiss Video Association (SIA) has introduced a code of conduct. The Movie Guide voluntary self- monitoring agreement obliges the signing retailers, distributors, importers and Swiss manufacturers and suppliers to label their products with age and to carry out a delivery control in sales. Only the cantons of Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Vaud and Valais are aware of the legal requirements for complying with these age ratings when selling or renting films.

Computer and video games

As with films, the cantons are responsible for enacting legal youth protection regulations for the sale and rental of computer and video games. Four cantons have such provisions (Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Vaud and Valais). This is why the industry makes an important contribution to the identification and compliance with age ratings: The industry has introduced a code of conduct together with retailers. The undersigned manufacturers, importers and distributors of the games undertake to only sell products for which a PEGI age recommendation is available. If only the USK age recommendation used in Germany exists for the product , this can be adopted. If neither a PEGI nor a USK age recommendation exists, the undersigned undertake to assess their own age recommendation to the best of their knowledge and belief and to sell the product accordingly.


Film and video

In France there is a legal obligation to submit all films. The age ratings are given by the Commission de Classification des Œuvres Cinematographiques , in which examiners from ministries, employees from the film industry and experts from youth psychology are represented. The responsible minister of education has the right to revise approved approvals, which is not infrequently done in response to the lower approval.

Overall, France is far less restrictive when it comes to age ratings than in Germany or Ireland: Approx. 70% of all films are labeled "without age restriction" ("tous publics" or "film tous publics lors de sa sortie en salle"), including numerous films that, for example, are only released in Germany from the age of 16 (for example Eyes Wide Shut by Stanley Kubrick). The other levels are “from 12 years”, which also includes films like Rambo II or Starship Troopers , which are released in Germany from the age of 18 or are on the list of media harmful to minors, “from 16 years” and “from 18 years” “(" Interdit aux moins de ... ans "). The latter approval is only given extremely rarely. There is also a legal obligation to submit a video for the video sector, but this does not apply in practice.

United States


In the USA , CARA, a subsidiary of the Motion Picture Association (MPA), is responsible for classifying films. Their current ratings for age ratings are:

  • G( General Audience: suitable for all ages)
  • PG( Parental Guidance Suggested: adult guidance recommended)
  • PG-13( Parents Strongly Cautioned: tightened warning from PG )
  • R.( Restricted: under 17 years only when accompanied by an adult)
  • NC-17( No One 17 And Under Admitted: from 18 years; former designation: X, see X-Rating ).

The MPA system differs significantly from the German FSK system in that, with the exception of the NC-17 films, all films are generally allowed to be viewed by children and young people of all ages. At most, accompaniment by adults is required (R) or recommended (PG , PG-13 ).

Before these age restrictions were introduced in the USA, all films were open to all people, provided the films met the provisions of the Hays Code .

The PG-13 rating was reintroduced under pressure from the producers of the film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984 in order to achieve a better gradation between PG and R , which on the one hand corresponds to the protective interests of the parents, on the other hand the economic interests of the film industry, as adolescents rarely go to the cinema with their parents, as would be necessary for the R rating.

Age approval by the MPA is not mandatory in the USA. However, economic pressure leads to the release of most films in theaters with an R or lower, since unaudited or NC-17 films are only shown in a few theaters and are not advertised by many media outlets. On VHS or DVD, on the other hand, an unchecked release ("Unrated") is normal and is not subject to any advertising or trade restrictions.

Computer and video games

As in most of Europe, there are no mandatory age ratings for computer and video games in the USA. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), like the PEGI, issues non-binding age recommendations for games.


There is no age rating for music regulated by law in the USA; this is based on a voluntary commitment by the music industry. The Parental Advisory Label is used to mark music publications that are considered unsuitable for minors due to offensive texts.

United Kingdom

Movie and TV

In Great Britain , the BBFC ( British Board of Film Classification ) is responsible for the age ratings ("classification"). Its ratings are as follows:

  • U( Universal: suitable for all ages)
  • UC (suitable for preschool children)
  • PG( Parental Guidance: not suitable for younger children)
  • 12A (only used for movies; under 12 years, but only when accompanied by an adult)
  • 12 (from 12 years)
  • 15th (from 15 years)
  • 18th (from 18 years)
  • R18( Restricted 18: Pornography; may only be sold in special shops [for example in sex shops ])

In order for a film to be sold in the UK it must have BBFC approval. The BBFC can demand cuts or censorships, even if they are 18+. If the provider refuses to make appropriate cuts or if the BBFC refuses to approve it, the film in question is deemed to be prohibited and may not be sold.

Hong Kong

Movie and TV

In Hong Kong , the Film Censorship Authority (FCA) is responsible for age ratings for films. However, the age ratings don't count for the rest of China. There are four categories:

  • I. - released for all age groups
  • IIA - not suitable for children
  • IIB - not approved for children
  • III - approved from 18 years

Promotional materials, posters, and packaging for films approved for use by anyone aged 18 or over must be reviewed and approved by the Film Censorship Authority (FCA) before they are released.


Movie and TV

  • T - approved for all age groups
  • VM14 - no persons under the age of 14 admitted
  • VM18 - no under 18s admitted



In Japan, the Eirin ( Japanese 映 倫 ), short for Eiga Rinri Iinkai ( 映 画 倫理 委員会 , German "Film Ethics Committee"), is responsible for the classification of films.

  • G (suitable for all ages)
  • PG12 (Accompaniment by an adult recommended for children under 12 years of age)
  • R15 + (from 15 years)
  • R18 + (from 18 years)

Computer and video games

The Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO) is the responsible body in Japan for the age rating of computer and video games as a voluntary self-regulation of the video game industry.

The individual stages are:

  • A. (without age restriction)
  • B. (from 12 years)
  • C. (from 15 years)
  • D. (from 17 years)
  • Z (from 18 years)

However, the manufacturers of pornographic games, which as a whole have a large market share in Japan, are usually not represented in the CERO, but in the EOCS or CSA . Since no age classification is necessary here, as it is always shown as "18+", these organizations only regulate the game content.

South Korea


The Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB) is responsible for rating and reviewing films in South Korea .

The individual stages are:

  • 전체 관람가 (no age limit )
  • 12 세 관람가 (from 12 years)
  • 15 세 관람가 (from 15 years)
  • 청소년 관람 불가 (no youth approval )
  • 제한 상영가 (Restricted demonstration)

Computer and video games

The Game Rating and Administration Committee is responsible for rating and reviewing video games.

The individual stages are:

  • All (no age limit)
  • 12 (from 12 years)
  • 15 (from 15 years)
  • 18 (from 18 years)


Movie and TV

The revised film rating system in Taiwan that went into effect on October 16, 2015:

  • 0+普遍 級 (普) (general public) - Viewing is permitted for all ages.
  • 6+保護 級 (護) (Protected) - Viewing is prohibited to children under 6 years of age; Children between 6 and 11 years of age must be accompanied and advised by parents, teachers, seniors or adult relatives or friends.
  • 12+輔導 十二 歲 級 (輔 12) (Parent counseling 12) - Viewing is not permitted for children under 12 years of age.
  • 15+輔導十五歲級(輔15) (Elternberatung 15) - The reputation is not permitted for persons under 15 years.
  • 18+限制級 (限) (Restricted) - Viewing is prohibited to anyone under the age of 18.

The markings are normally represented by the abbreviations , , and together with the corresponding color.


Movie and TV

In the Netherlands, the Nederlands Instituut voor de Classificatie van Audiovisuele Media (NICAM) issues seven approvals with a recommendation character. However, these are also used for restrictions on television broadcasts.

  • Al - no age limit
  • 6 - from six years
  • 9 - from nine years
  • 12 - from the age of twelve
  • 14 - from fourteen years
  • 16 - from sixteen years
  • 18 - from eighteen years


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Youth Protection Act as of January 1, 2009 (PDF; 210 kB) - § 27 (4) and § 28 (4)
  2. New identification of the FSK ( Memento of December 12, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).
  3. Concept of youth risk according to BPjM ( Memento from October 26, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Friday the 13th unabridged on Arte
  5. FSK 16 not suitable for viewers under 18. In: Retrieved September 6, 2016 .
  7. ^ Statute of the Legal Commission as of October 19, 2007.
  8. Working group of the Youth Media Commission of the BMBWF: Age rating of films and comparable image carriers by the Youth Media Commission in Austria. (PDF) No mention of a release from 18 years. Retrieved August 18, 2020 .
  9. Age ratings in an international comparison / Comparison of international movie ratings. (PDF) Voluntary self-regulation of the Filmwirtschaft GmbH, September 2018, accessed on August 24, 2020 (context: ).
  10. Film database of the Youth Media Commission .
  11. Youth Media Commission at the BMUKK .
  12. Law on the regulation of the cinema (Wiener Kinogesetz 1955) ( Memento of March 3, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) § 11. Youth Media Commission at the BMUKK.
  13. ^ Movie Guide
  14. Code of Conduct
  15. Kijkwijzer ., accessed on August 24, 2020.
  16. KIJKWIJZER EXPLAINED ., accessed on August 24, 2020.