Since the regulation of video in 1984, there was since public concern about the influence of videos in the 90's
The Jamie Bulger case. The trial judge linked this murder of a two year-old by two ten year-old boys to the viewing of violent videos, with the media singling out the horror video Child's Play 3 (1991).
Though subsequent enquiries refuted this connection, public opinion rallied behind calls for stricter regulation. Parliament supported an amendment to the Video Recordings Act, contained in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which requires the Board to consider specific issues, and the potential for harm, when making video classification decisions.
The Board has always been stricter on video than on film. This is partly because younger people are more likely to gain access to videos with restrictive categories than such films at the cinema (where admissions can be screened). But it is also because, on video, scenes can be taken out of context, and particular moments can be replayed.
The BBFC was being asked to look at a number of extremely violent and drug-filled films, which further fuelled the debate about media effects
In 1997 the BBFC's President, Lord Harewood, stepped down after 12 years in the job. His replacement, Andreas Whittam Smith, announced his intention to steer the BBFC towards a greater 'openness and accountability'. This included the publication of the BBFC's first set of classification guidelines in 1998, following a series of public 'roadshows' in which public views were canvassed and the launching of a BBFC website.
The 1990s also saw rapid developments in the world of computer games, which seemed to become more realistic and sophisticated with each passing year. Although the majority of video games were automatically exempt from classification, those that featured realistic violence against humans or animals, or human sexual activity, did come under the scope of the Video Recordings Act. From 1994 the BBFC started to receive some of the stronger video games for formal classification, which necessitated a different way of examining (because it was impossible to see everything that might happen in a game). 1999 also saw the removal of the BBFC's controversial policy on oriental weaponry