Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
Movies that are rated PG-13, which means that children over age 13 can see them in theaters, have gotten more and more violent in the last 2 decades, to the point where many are more violent than movies that earned an “R” rating in the 1980s. More from NBC News:
Psychologists say it’s a worrisome trend that we should take seriously, because there is evidence that watching violence on screen increases aggression in real life.
“Of course it’s not the only factor, and it may not even be the most important factor, but it isn’t a trivial factor — and it’s one we can change,” says Brad Bushman, an Ohio State University psychologist and lead author of the new report.
Bushman and colleagues analyzed 945 popular films released from 1950 to 2012. Each movie was among the 30 top-grossing films of that year, and they randomly chose 15 of those top 30 movies to scrutinize. Undergrads watched every film and counted every violent act — they defined a violent sequence as “physical acts where the aggressor makes or attempts to make some physical contact with the intention of causing injury or death.”
They found that since 2009, PG-13 movies have featured as much or more violence than the R-rated films released those same years. And in 2012, there was more gun violence in PG-13 films than in the R-rated ones out that year….
There are a few things that might explain the remarkable rise in violence in PG-13 films. Ratings are determined by the Motion Picture Association of America — which means, Bushman says, they’re “assigned by the industry.” (The MPAA declined to comment on the study, but you can read more about the ratings system here.)
And a movie rated PG-13 will attract more theatergoers than an R, of course, because kids can go see it. Romer also thinks the rise in sci-fi and comic book movies has something to do with it —violence may be easier for us to handle if it’s got a fantasy element to it. And violence is understandable in every language, which means violence-fueled action movies are more marketable overseas than comedies.
Image: Teens at movies, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Tweens and teenagers are so vulnerable to messages they receive in movies that any film that depicts a character smoking should automatically earn an “R” rating, a new study suggests. CNN.com has more:
PG-13 films account for nearly two-thirds of the smoking scenes adolescents see on the big screen, according to the two-year study, which surveyed roughly 5,000 children ages 10 to 14 about the movies they’d seen and whether they’d ever tried a cigarette.
Smoking in PG-13 films — including background shots and other passing instances — was just as strongly linked with real-world experimentation as the smoking in R-rated films. For every 500 smoking scenes a child saw in PG-13 movies, his or her likelihood of trying cigarettes increased by 49%. The comparable figure for R-rated movies was 33%, a statistically negligible difference.
Assigning an R rating to all movies portraying smoking would lower the proportion of kids who try cigarettes at this age by 18%, the authors estimate. (Children under 17 must be accompanied by an adult to buy a ticket for an R-rated movie.)
“The movie industry [should] treat smoking like it treats profanity and sex and violence,” says lead author Dr. James D. Sargent, a cancer-prevention specialist and professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School, in Lebanon, New Hampshire. “If saying the ‘F’ word twice gets you an R rating, certainly something as important as smoking should get you an R rating.”
Image: Teenagers at the movies, via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
The Associated Press is reporting that the entertainment rental company Netflix, Inc. is launching a “Just for Kids” tab to its user interface, just as customers are voicing unhappiness about the company’s decision to charge separate fees for videos streamed from online sources and DVDs that come in the mail. The change will cost DVD subscribers $6 more per month.
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A “Just For Kids” tab has been added to subscribers’ accounts on Netflix’s website. Clicking on the feature will pull up a list of kid-friendly recommendations drawn from about 1,000 movies and TV shows in Netflix’s Internet video streaming library.
It won’t suggest titles that are only available as DVD rentals delivered through the mail. That’s an option that Netflix is trying to make less enticing to subscribers so it can save postage and spend more money expanding its selection of video streaming options.
The children’s feature grew out of Netflix’s recognition that its video streaming service is making it easier for kids to watch movies on a variety of devices at almost any time and any place with a high-speed Internet connection. The video can be streamed through video game consoles, the iPad tablet computer and smartphones. Netflix makes it even easier by allowing several people from the same household to stream through the same account.
That convenience and affordable pricing has established Netflix has a major provider of children’s entertainment. The company, which is based in Los Gatos, Calif., says about half its subscribers have watched at least two movies or TV shows made for kids within the past 90 days.
Thursday, July 14th, 2011
In the wake of research by the National Cancer Institute linking on-screen depictions of cigarette smoking with higher rates of smoking among young people, three major film studios have drastically reduced the frequency of cigarette-related images in their youth-oriented movies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study Thursday detailing smoking in top-grossing movies. The Associated Press reports that over the past five years, scenes involving tobacco dropped from an average of 23 to one per film for those companies (a drop of 96 percent), and most of their youth movies had no smoking at all.
The three movie companies–Time Warner (Warner Bros.); Comcast (Universal and Focus Features); and the Walt Disney Company (Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone, Pixar and Buena Vista)–all have official company policies aimed at reducing tobacco exposure on screen. For companies that don’t have similar policies, smoking still decreased by 42 percent in films, though more than 40 percent of the films still depicted tobacco use.
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