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Study: Parents Desensitized to Violent and Sexual Content in Films

Study: Parents Desensitized to Violent and Sexual Content in Films

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A study released by the Annenberg Public Policy Center concluded that parents have become increasingly tolerant of sexual and violent content in movies. 

Researchers showed 1,000 parents graphic scenes from PG-13 and R-rated films such as “Die Hard,” “Casino Royale,” and “8 Mile” to evaluate their reactions. 

“The rise of violence and gun violence in PG-13 movies means that lots of kids are able to go into movie theaters and see explicit violence,” said Dan Romer, the associate director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and a lead author on the study. “We wanted to find out why parents didn’t show more concern. Why was this happening without pushback?”

After the first clip, parents responded that the appropriate age for films with violent content was on average 16.9 years, and 17.2 years for sexual content. However, by six scenes in, age 13.9 was deemed acceptable for violent content and 14 for sexual content. 

It was discovered that the more bloody and erotic content parents were exposed to, the more apathetic they became. Romer discussed the societal implications this data could have, as parents adopt more permissive parenting styles. He said gun violence in society is reflective of the content found in Hollywood movies. 

“We’re undergoing a massive amount of exposure for kids to gun violence, and in a society in which there are a lot of guns, that could influence attitudes people have,” he said.

According to Variety, the current research serves as a companion to a 2013 study that proved gun violence in PG-13-rated movies has tripled since 1985. Apparently, there is more violence in PG-13 movies than in those rated R.


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