PG-13 Movies Doesn’t Promote Violence Among Youngsters- Researchers Says

As per the new study, PG-13 movies can no more be blamed for triggering violence. Parents should not be worried or suspect these movies for the wrongdoings of their children. As per the researchers, it was between 1985 and 2015 that violence mainly rose in the movies on the base of murders and killings.

Christopher Ferguson, a lead author and an associate professor of physiology at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla said: “It doesn’t appear that PG-13-rated movies are having any impact on viewers.” Researchers were concerned about this issue as in America PG-13 movies can be legally watched by every child irrespective of their age. The study got published in the Journal Psychiatric Quarterly on 17th January 2019.

It is true that children act out the things they observe in the movies during their play, but obviously, these playful things do not turn them towards violence like bullying and assaulting. However, the study got rejected form the director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Adolescent Communication Institute, Dan Romer. According to him, this data can clearly not predict the effect of movies on children.

He said: “The authors have a very simplistic model of how the mass media work, and they have an agenda that attempts to show that violent media are salutary rather than harmful. What is needed is dispassionate analysis rather than cherry-picking of convenient data.”

As per the previous studies, most of the parents have become insensitive to violence in the movies, thus let their children see the PG-13 movies. On the other hand, Ferguson says that media are an easy target for everyone to blame especially the ones who want to have the high moral ground. He explained, “It’s nice to say, ‘Let’s get rid of this thing and then that would make all these problems go away’. It’s kind of a simplistic answer.”

Dr. Michael Rich, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital, analyzed the study and shared his views about it. According to him, the researchers have only tried to pave a simple path for a complex issue.

Rich said, “While violence has declined, it doesn’t warrant the conclusion that we are not affected by violence in our media. As a pediatrician, I am more concerned about the violence that children experience every day, which is not reflected in crime stats.”

He explained that people usually suffer from micro-violence like bullying. However, movies cannot be totally blamed for this as there are a number of factors which contribute to aggression and violence. Movies just play a role in reflecting the current scenarios of the world and surroundings. He said: “It’s a complex issue.”

He also observed that movies have now made people cold-hearted that is, they are less bothered by the violence. Rich said: “That is, in part, why violent media always needs to up the ante.” The media violence has created more fear among the children than violence and has played with their minds by showing a much worse side of the world than it really is. “Violence is much rarer than fear and anxiety,” Rich said. “We find that most kids who carry a weapon into school do it for protection.”

For carrying the study, the researchers analyzed and studied the data on PG-13 movies with the data of U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation on criminal activities. Romer disagreed and said conclusions about PG-13 movies can’t be drawn only on the basis of data. He said due to a sharp drop in the violence among youngsters in the mid-1990’s, the homicide rate has been stabled from then.

“And the homicide data do not even focus on youth gun homicides, which is what one would want to look at if one were really interested in the effects of gun violence in popular movies,” he added. Romer observed that gun usage dramatically increased in the late 1980s and early 1990’s when it was also commonly seen in the PG-13 movies.

Rich suggests parents let their children see the movies to create awareness and fight back the fears and feelings. Rich said: “Kids are always learning, but that learning can be shaped and modified.”

Adeena Tariq

Adeena's professional life has been mostly in hospital management, while studying international business in college. Of course, she now covers topics for us in health.

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