Cameron looks set to clamp down on raunchy pop videos

Fri, 13 Apr 2012

Sexually explicit music videos by stars such as Rihanna and Lady Gaga could be given cinema-style age ratings to protect children, under plans being considered by David Cameron.

Under the proposals, websites hosting explicit music videos would be forced to introduce age-verification systems similar to those used on gambling websites.

The Prime Minister is understood to be “disappointed” with the music video industry’s response to a government-backed report into child sexualisation last year.

Ratings

Reg Bailey, the man behind last year’s report, said: “Many of the industries mentioned in last year’s report responded positively to our recommendations. I cannot say that has been the case with music videos.

“Age ratings should be introduced for music videos. There is also a clear case for age-verification for such sites.”

Mr Cameron will meet leading figures from the music video and social media world at Downing Street next month.

Influenced

And while he hopes they will take action to protect children voluntarily he is prepared to introduce new laws if necessary.

Dr Pam Spurr, a behavioural expert, said: “Adolescence is a time when young people can be hugely influenced by popular culture and as a society we have a duty to protect them from this negative way of behaving.

“If they are constantly seeing gorgeous women gyrating in outfits suitable for lap-dancing clubs, this becomes the norm. It is what they think they should be like.”

Damaging

She added: “We must make it clear that they should not be exposed to this content until they’re at an age where they have the confidence to filter out the negative and damaging messages.”

But Rio Caraeff, of the music website Vevo, argues that ratings are unnecessary and difficult to enforce.

Earlier this year Dame Joan Bakewell criticised the ‘over-sexualisation’ of pop stars like Lady Gaga.

Distressing

Commenting on the explosion of raunchy music videos Dame Joan, a veteran broadcaster who fronted a series of shows pushing sexual boundaries, said: “I find it absolutely extraordinary.

“I’m not prudish. I mean, the shock of everyone’s bits hanging out isn’t in itself distressing, but it’s so over-sexualised.

Last year former pop star Gary Barlow warned that music videos are too sexual, and said that he has had to shield his young children from sexualised pop images.

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