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NICAM expands Kijkwijzer system to seven age categories

M ore nuance is needed in the Kijkwijzer system's teen ages.

This statement is the result of consumers' feedback as well as research that was commissioned by NICAM. To stay in line with scientific insights as well as parents' and educators' wishes, the Kijkwijzer age indications have been expanded from five to seven age categories. By using two ages for early adolescence (12 and 14 years old) as well as late adolescence (16 and 18 years old), ratings will be more in line with with adolescents' development. The new ratings should also give adolescents and parents better tools for assessing the potentially harmful use of media.

The seven new Kijkwijzer age categories are: AL (not harmful/for all ages), 6 (may be harmful to children under 6), 9 (may be harmful to children under 9), 12 (may be harmful to children under 12), 14 (may be harmful to children under 14), 16 (may be harmful to children under 16) and 18 (may be harmful to children under 18). Before, the teenage categories within the Kijkwijzer system consisted of only two ages: 12 and 16 years old. Apart from a expanding these categories, Kijkwijzer will also be asserting itself more prominently as a useful tool rather than a warning.

Starting January 2020, productions may also be rated 14 or 18.

Age indication as guideline

The seven age-limits that indicate whether a production may be harmful, have a legal and scientific basis. The new categories should make things more comprehensive for parents, children and adolescents. At the same time, they should also be interpreted as a guideline. Recent research shows that there are large differences between the cognitive and emotional development of children within a specific age group. The Kijkwijzer website offers an overview of the most relevant arguments that were used to distinguish between the potentially harmful elements of productions to certain age groups. With this overview, Kijkwijzer wants to give parents and educators the opportunity to find out for themselves to which extent an age indication applies to their child(ren).


Kijkwijzer is the name of the rating system that has been in use since spring 2001 to provide cinematic features, films, DVD's and television programs (including music videos) with information about its potential harmfulness to children and adolescents. This way, parents, children and other consumers are informed about the potential harmfulness of media productions. Kijkwijzer is based on co-regulation: the audiovisual media sector and the government are equally responsible, financially as well as politically, for the Kijkwijzer system and measures aimed at protecting children and adolescents from harmful media-influences. Co-regulation is currently considered by Dutch and European politics to be an effective tool for protecting minors from harmful imagery.

Published: May 18 2020