Sky Q introduces Parents’ Guide: A brand-new movie ratings system to help families pick the perfect film

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Sky has today launched a new Parents’ Guide on Sky Q, providing in-depth ratings for more than 3,500 movies. Created in partnership with Common Sense Media, the non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families, the new Parents’ Guide gives families the extra details they need to make more informed choices about which movies they watch.

The Parents’ Guide is designed to help families choose movies that are not only age-appropriate but also educational, so kids can make the most of the time they spend watching TV. When customers select any movie on Sky – whether from Sky Cinema, Sky Store or from one of our partner movie channels, they’ll be able to select the Parents’ Guide via the Sky Q sidebar menu. 

The guide then provides a unique zero-to-five rating for each film across seven different categories:

  • Violence & Scariness
  • Positive Messages
  • Consumerism
  • ‘Sexy Stuff’
  • Positive Role Models & Representation
  • Language
  • Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
  • Educational Value

Each movie is personally reviewed by Common Sense Media researchers, who combine their expertise of child development and film knowledge to build detailed category ratings, catering specifically for children. The ratings carefully consider each film’s classification based on its proposed rating. For example, a ‘12 rated’ movie will be assessed with a pre-teen audience in mind – if it’s awarded five stars for violence, then it’s a film that 12-year olds could find especially violent, whilst adults may think it’s milder.

Stephen van Rooyen, CEO UK & Ireland, Sky said “The New Parents’ Guide, which provides expert guidance on everything from the educational value of a movie through to the violence it contains, adds to the wide range of products we offer to safety-conscious parents. From toddlers to teens, it is our responsibility to keep families safe on Sky – we’ve launched Broadband Buddy so families can manage their internet access, while kids can safely watch their favourite characters on the Sky Kids app.”

Jill Murphy, Common Sense Media, said “Our goal is to give Sky customers trusted information, so they can decide what movies work for them.  Our ratings are based on child development and  what they are ready for, no matter what the age classification says. Beyond violence and bad language, we also look at how characters talk to each other, if they’re respectful towards each other and their parents. What one five-year-old may enjoy, another may find upsetting, so we want to take some of the guesswork out of this process.”  

The Parents’ Guide will join Sky’s suite of existing products and services which ensure children’s safety online and when watching TV. This includes Sky Broadband Buddy, which lets families manage each screen in their home from an app on a phone or tablet, as well as Kids Safe Mode for Sky Q and the Sky Kids app, both of which create an age appropriate, protected TV viewing environment to give parents complete peace of mind.

In a further update, Sky Q will soon also feature new Personalised Recommendation rails on the ‘Featured’ section for On Demand, Sky Box Sets and Catch up TV. The rails will offer suggestions based viewing history and trending content, including:

  • ‘Because you watched’ – Similar content to what has previously been viewed
  • ‘Personalised genre’ – Content from genres regularly watched
  • ‘Trending this week’ – Popular shows that everyone is watching

The Parents’ Guide will roll out to Sky Q customers from today and will be in all Sky Q homes by the end of August.  The Sky Q personalisation updates will be introduced later this summer.


About Sky

With 23 million customers across seven countries, Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. 

We have 31,000 colleagues and together we want to connect our customers to more of what they love, including our award-winning original productions, like Patrick Melrose and Save Me, and great shows from our partners including, HBO, Showtime and Warner Bros. And our cover improving technology makes it even easier for customers to watch more of the shows they love with personalised recommendations and voice control and, our online streaming service, NOW TV, bring all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of contract free service. 

We treat our customers better than anyone else in our filed, as Ofcom’s complaints date shows, and we look after our staff too. Sky is one of The Times Top 50 employers for women and we’re in Stonewall’s list of Top 50 LGBT-Inclusive employers. 

We also use our position as the leading entertainment business in Europe to do the right thing. As part of Sky Ocean Rescue campaign, we’re committing to be completely single use plastic free by 2020, we’re investing £25million over five years in ocean-saving tech and we’re supporting the WWF to protect our oceans with designated Marine Protected Areas. 


About Common Sense Media

Common Sense is the leading nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century.

Common Sense will launch its first international office in London in September. The UK office of Common Sense will bring the same dedication to helping kids and families thrive in today's complicated digital world as it has for 16 years in the United States.