Cinemas – youth protection active


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Depending on their age, children and adolescents are only allowed to go to the cinema at certain times. In addition, they can only watch films that are approved for their age.

Children under the age of 6 are not permitted to go to the cinema unless they are accompanied by a legal guardian or a guardian and the film has no age restriction.

Children and adolescents from 6 years of age may only be in the cinema and other public film events if the films shown there are approved for their age group ("Without age restriction", "from six years", "from twelve years", "from the age of sixteen") or it is informational, instructional or educational films. Films without age codes are allowed to children and adolescents not shown.

Children between the ages of 6 and 13 must be accompanied by a person with legal guardianship or a guardian for films whose screening ends after 8:00 p.m. This also applies if the film is approved for her age group. The same applies to young people between the ages of 14 and 15 for films whose screening ends after 10 p.m. and for teenagers from the age of 16 for films whose screening ends after midnight.

The age restrictions also apply in principle if parents or guardians accompany minors. An exception is when children between the ages of 6 and 12 go into a film accompanied by their parents (legal guardians) "Approved from the age of twelve" is marked (Parental Guidance). The exception does not apply if there is only one person responsible for bringing up the child.

Cinema operators are obliged to comply with these provisions and, if necessary, also to check the age of cinema guests. This can be done at the ticket office, in the screening room and, if necessary, during the film screening. In addition, the provisions regarding the supply and consumption of alcohol and tobacco must be observed and – if the cinema has a restaurant – also with regard to restaurants.

The relevant legal provisions are clearly visible and legible and the age of the films must be indicated.

Violations of the applicable provisions can be punished with fines of up to EUR 50,000 and – in severe cases – fines or imprisonment.

What are "public film screenings"?

The Youth Protection Act defines public film screenings as events in which films are shown in public, for example in cinemas, at screenings in restaurants or in public youth facilities. It doesn’t have to be feature films. Public film screenings also the Demonstrations of short video films, video clips or trailers in discotheques, foyers, shop windows or at concerts.

The obligation to take age labeling into account always applies.

How does the approval process, which enables the age marking of films, work??

The supreme state authorities responsible for the legal protection of minors are responsible for the release and labeling of films, film and game programs. They have agreed on a common procedure with associations of the film industry and entertainment software industry within the framework of an agreement.

If the provider of a film wants children and young people to be able to see the film at film screenings, he can apply for an age rating at the responsible voluntary self-monitoring agency of Filmwirtschaft GmbH (FSK) in Wiesbaden. This self-regulation is carried out by the film industry, which examines films and checks at what age children and young people are allowed to watch a certain film.

What do the age marks look like??

Cinema operators must display the age codes in a clearly visible manner and make it clear what age rating a film has received.

The new age marks for films

The old age marks for films

What does the parental guidance regulation allow??

If parents (legal guardians) accompany children between the ages of 6 and 12, they may also watch films in the cinema that are only released for those aged 12 and over. The exception only applies if parents accompany their own children.

There are also age ratings for film trailers?

If children and adolescents are allowed to see a movie, the cinema operator may only show trailers (excerpts from films) that are approved for the same age as the main film. Approval for trailers can differ from the approval of the films for which they advertise.

There are special regulations for alcohol and tobacco advertising in the cinema?

Advertising films for tobacco products or alcoholic beverages may only be shown after 6 p.m..


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Christina Cherry
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