Children and the media

Children need to learn to use the media sensibly. Central government helps parents and teachers give children guidance in this respect, for instance through television viewing guidelines providing age-appropriate ratings for programmes and films.

Television viewing guidelines

The television viewing guidelines provide age-appropriate ratings for TV programmes or films. All productions receive such a rating, and can be classified as suitable for:

  • all ages (AL) and over;
  • 6 years and over;
  • 9 years and over;
  • 12 years and over;
  • 16 years and over.

The guidelines also use pictograms indicating the reason for the age rating: violence, sex, horror, discrimination, drug and alcohol abuse and bad language.

Criteria for age guidelines

The Netherlands Institute for the Classification of Audiovisual Media (NICAM) sets the criteria for the age guidelines, and deals with people’s complaints about abuse of them. Some 1,600 companies are affiliated to NICAM, either directly or through their branch organisation. They include public and commercial broadcasters, on-demand service providers, film distributors, cinema operators and video rental shops. 

Up to 20.00: only programmes rated as suitable for all ages

In planning their programmes, broadcasters have to take account of the age classifications/ratings listed in the television viewing guidelines:

  • Programmes rated as suitable for children aged 12 or over may only be broadcast from 20.00 to 06.00).
  • Programmes rated as only suitable for young people aged 16 or over may only be broadcast from 22.00 to 06.00.

Shops, cinemas and video rental shops may not sell, show or rent out productions rated 16+ to young people under the age of 16.

Age rating for games

Practically every game is given an age rating: the PEGI age rating. It indicates minimum ages for games. The PEGI age rating labels appear on the packaging and give one of the following age levels: 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18.