PG-13 movies match R rating for violence, study says

The Washington Post:

The prevalence of gun violence in top PG-13 movies has more than tripled since the rating was introduced in the mid-1980s, and last year it eclipsed even the amount in R-rated movies, according to findings to be published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

“I think most parents would be surprised to learn that,” said Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University and one of the study’s authors. “We were pretty shocked.”

The findings in Monday’s study, the authors write, are “troubling given the large body of research evidence showing that violent media can have harmful effects on children and youth.”

While many scholars agree with that conclusion, others have questioned the link between media violence and real-world violence. Christopher J. Ferguson, chairman of the psychology department at Stetson University, has written that the weight of evidence so far does not merit drawing hard conclusions. “If you are curious whether media violence contributes to violent crime,” Ferguson wrote in 2009, “the simple answer to that is we really don’t know.”

Meanwhile, two California economists, Gordon Dahl and Stefano DellaVigna, found in 2008 that attendance at violent movies actually reduced violent crime in the short term, possibly because they were keeping some at-risk individuals out of bars and off the streets for several hours. But both men said in e-mails that deciphering the long-term effects of media violence is trickier.

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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