Announcing the measures at the Relationship Alliance yesterday (Monday), he said that music videos released online currently fall outside of the scope of the Video Recordings Act but should be aligned with offline content rules.
He added that YouTube, Vevo, the recorded music industry and the British Board of Classification are all involved in the new scheme, which will last for three months from October.
‘Helping families with children and parenting shouldn’t stop at childbirth,’ he said. ‘To take just one example – bringing up children in an internet age, you are endlessly worried about what they are going to find online.
‘So we’ve taken a big stand on protecting our children online. We’re making family friendly filters the default setting for all new online customers, and we’re forcing existing customers to make an active choice about whether to install them.
‘And today we’re going even further. From October, we’re going to help parents protect their children from some of the graphic content in online music videos by working with the British Board of Film Classification, Vevo and YouTube to pilot the age rating of these videos.’
The action follows a damning report entitled Pornographic Performances, which found women are consistently portrayed as sex objects in music videos, and black women are exoticised and hyper-sexualised.
These trends are said to lead to viewers expressing sexist attitudes towards women and being more tolerant of sexual harassment.
The study was commissioned by the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Imkaan and Object, and was sent to music industry leaders, media regulators and politicians.