Report: Gun Violence in PG-13 Movies Higher Than R-Rated Films

Report: Gun Violence PG-13 Movies Higher

Researchers found gun activity in pics has more than doubled since 1950

A new study has found that the level of gun violence in mainstream U.S. pics has more than doubled since 1950, with the level of gunplay in PG-13 movies now outpacing that of R-rated pics.

The study conducted by researchers at Ohio State U. and Annenberg Public Policy Center is to be published in the December edition of Pediatrics.

The study examined 945 movies, including the top 30 films at the B.O. every year from 1950 to 2012. Researchers found that on average, violence with guns occurs more than twice an hour in both PG-13 and R-rated pics.

The study authors are calling for changes to the MPAA’s rating system to be tougher on assigning R-ratings for high levels of gun violence.

The entertainment industry has long challenged the notion that there is a causal effect between violence on screen in real-life. But a number of orgs have attempted to find a link between on-screen mayhem and aggression.

“Even if youth do not use guns, these findings suggest that they are exposed to increasing gun violence in top-selling films,” the researchers said. “By including guns in violent scenes, film producers may be strengthening the weapons effect and providing youth with scripts for using guns.”

The study was conducted by Brad Bushman, Patrick E. Jamieson, Ilana Weitz and Daniel Romer.

The MPAA had no comment.

In the wake of the school shootings in Newtown last year, attention has focused on violent in the media, and in particular video games. Reps from the entertainment industry met with Vice President Joseph Biden, with the results being ways to improve the visibility of the ratings system. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) proposed that the National Academy of Sciences conduct a study on video game and video violence.

Last summer, the Media Coalition, an org that includes the film, record, publishing and other media industries, introduced a report that took issue with claims that video games cause aggressive behavior, calling the studies “highly controvertible, and even those that can be found are negligible and short-lived.”

Yet the researchers in the Pediatrics study begin with the idea that the link between exposure of violent media can increase aggression in children, noting that six health organizations have endorsed such a conclusion. They include the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Assn., the American Psychiatric Assn. and the American Psychological Assn, in addition to Pediatrics.

“In many shooting sprees the perpetrator puts on a uniform (eg, hockey mask, trench coat, movie costume, military uniform), as if following a script from a movie,” the Pediatrics researchers wrote.

The PG-13 rating was introduced in 1985, in response to parents who complained that their children were being exposed to high levels of violence in PG-rated movies. A problem, the researchers say, is that those movies are “more accessible today to viewers of all ages than ever before, such as on the Internet and cable.”

The study did find that the use of guns in violent segments has declined slightly in G and PG rated movies since 1985, but not changed overall in R-rated movies while rising “considerably” in PG-13 films.

They also noted that previous research has shown that when movie characters smoke or drink, youth are more likely to start themselves. “Similarly, we predict that youth will be more interested in acquiring and using guns after exposure to gun violence in films,” the researchers wrote.

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  1. Duder NME says:

    It’d be interesting to see parental advocacy groups butting heads with corporations instead of just policy makers controlled by corporations. It’d also be nice to see parents follow the “parental guidance” warning of PG and PG-13 films instead of just looking at a number and letting the MPAA raise their children.

  2. Dart Vade says:

    why is it then when kids watch comedies or musicals (like every show my kids watch on Nick and Disney Jr) that they don’t tend to sing anymore than they did before or laugh anymore than they did before? Why don’t more women forgive their bad boyfriend/husband or reconcile relationships with past lovers if they watch all of these romantic movies? How come people aren’t affected by good positive things and are only affected by what some deem “as bad things”? It’s because its all BS, I know plenty of people who didn’t play video games or watch movies (I grew up in the country) who committed violent crimes and plenty of people who played all kinds of violent video games and never committed a single crime. where in these studies are the parents singled out for not being good parents and making sure they knew what their kids were into and who they are doing it with? No one started to cut peoples faces off after Hannibal Lector, these types of reports are all hogwash unless you are consuming with every single free moment of your life doing nothing but watching porn and violent movies and playing violent games that might be about the only cause, but at that point you are already unbalanced and the content of said media had nothing to do with your outcome in life.

  3. tom says:

    that means PG-13 films will suck. No more Dark Knight. they’ll NEVER turn batman into an R rated feature. welcome back adam west.

  4. Frank W says:

    TEACH EMPATHY TO YOUR KIDS FIRST. Then The Matrix won’t bother them.

    • Damien Belyeu says:

      Why do I need to teach empthy to my kids? I mean, that’d actually mean I have to show effort in raising my children!

      Ok, all sarcasm aside, I can’t agree with you more. The problem is mainly with the parents of the shooters, how they raise their kids, and not *just* the children. If the kid grows up in a violent environment, they will use violence, since violence is all they know. If the kid grows up in a sensible, caring environment, violence will be less likely to be used.

      That said, I also agree in the fact that if you need to use violence to protect yourself, if there is no other way, then you shouldn’t be lambasted for doing so. But, that’s the country we live in…

  5. Jerry says:

    If violence finds you, and you need to defend yourself, find the Gun Rights Attorneys website.

  6. The Academy says:

    God forbid our children see a nipple or hear the f-word more than twice. But let’s make sure commercials for Call of Duty air during football games that show average Joes shooting and getting shot at for 60 seconds straight.

  7. The entertainment industry isn’t going to take this lying down. If they have to push the age groups up for viewing violent entertainment, they will lose a lot of money.

  8. George says:

    Whether or not one agrees that movies/games ’cause’ violence, one has to agree the flooding of violent images and diminishing of the significance of the violence (violence for the sake of violence) desensitizes people to its impact and effect. That is occurring earlier and earlier in the viewers lives making it ‘no big deal’ for some. Our society is on a slippery slope where boundaries are disappearing. Sad and scary to think of what soon will be termed OK or someone else’s problem. There has to be a point where educators and individuals stand up. Backing down to bullying lobbies (who are in it purely for financial gain not the constitution) and the naive and self absorbed, will be our downfall.

    • Dart Vade says:

      I dont agree. What do you think would be worse to see fictionalized violence where a parent explains that first off it isnt real and no one is getting hurt and that in real life that would not be accepted or tolerated. Or to actually grow up in a home/neighborhood where you see violence occur? I guarantee you if you are ever so unfortunate to watch someone killed in fron of you that you will remember it forever, every detail of it will be so vivid, as opposed to the person you just killed in a cartoonish video game?

  9. Joshua Davis says:

    Still on the ‘movies and games cause gun violence’ trip, are we?

  10. Dave says:

    Well, a lot of movies that were intended to be R are edited to be PG-13 to get more $$$$ since more teenagers are able to see it. Then, when the blu ray/dvds come out, you see a lot of “The Directors Cut”.

  11. Blame the video game, no limit to violence there

    • ShawnN says:

      There’s more limits to violence in video games than there are in films, not to say that there aren’t violent games but what’s considered acceptable by the MPAA compared to what’s acceptable by the ESRB are a ways apart. The issue is that if you don’t play games or find yourself around them on a regular basis all you have to go on is the mainstream media, and to them video games are good for one thing: scaring people. Video games don’t make the news unless they’re causing controversy and that can leave people with the impression that the industry is nothing but violence.

  12. SenorPlaid says:

    Well, of course. It’s far more important to protect younger people from the real threats that plague our society, like bare boobies and saying the f-word.

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