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What are “themes”?

You may have seen consumer advice next to a rating that mentions themes, for example Mature themes or Mild themes. But what does “themes” mean?

Themes is a classifiable element used in classification, alongside Violence, Sex, Drug use, Nudity and Language.

Themes includes social issues such as crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependency, death, serious illness, war, family breakdown and racism.

In classification, certain types of content are also considered under themes, like depictions of animal cruelty or predatory animal behaviour, gambling, crude humour, horror and scary content. 

Under the Classification Guidelines for Film and Computer Games, there are rules about the treatment of themes in each classification category. In particular, there are rules about the level of threat or menace in themes at G, PG and M levels and the themes and their treatment must be very mild at G, mild at PG or moderate at M, whereas they can be strong at MA 15+ or high impact at R 18+.

You can find more information about classifiable elements on our How a rating is decided page.