Gun violence in PG-13-rated movies exceeds that in R-rated films, new study finds
Experts: Parents can provide context, answer questions and set limits on what kids watch
Gun violence in PG-13 movies is still on the rise, exceeding its counterpart in R-rated movies, according to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics.
In an earlier study, researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center analyzed movies released between 1985 and 2012. Results showed that the amount of gun violence in top-grossing PG-13 films had more than doubled since 1985 and started surpassing the amount of gun violence in R-rated movies. A PG-13 rating stands for: “Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13,” according to the Motion Picture Association of America.
The new analysis involved 15 of the 30 top-grossing movies each year from 2013 through 2015, such as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Divergent” and “Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation.” Researchers divided each movie into five-minute segments and tracked whether a character used a gun to shoot at someone during that interval, regardless of the number of times it occurred.
“It’s really a measure of how much throughout the movie there is gun violence,” said Dan Romer, lead author of the study and research director of the Annenberg center.
The new report said: “The amount of gun violence in PG-13-rated movies continues to exceed that in movies rated R and does so even more clearly than in 2012.”
Effects of violent media
Most movies, especially PG-13 ones, show a sanitized version of violence where people just fall down, according to Douglas A. Gentile, professor of psychology at Iowa State University.
“People don’t scream in pain for hours, and we don’t see the reaction of their families dealing with the aftermath of it and all these are things that are real about violence,” he said.