New Study Says PG-13 Movies Increasingly Violent

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UPDATED: Thursday November 14, 2013 6:10 PM

How violent are the movies your kids are seeing?

A study released this week in the journal Pediatrics says gun use in PG-13 movies has more than tripled since the rating was first used in 1985.

"It seems as though the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is more worried about language than they are the violence in the films,” said David Nedrow, owner of the Grandview Theatre in Grandview Heights.

Nedrow says the line between what is rated R or PG-13 has become so blurred that PG-13 should cease to exist.

"It's really just an R, but because they keep a couple of curse words out, they can get that lower rating,” Nedrow said.

The study reveals the most popular PG-13 movies of 2011 and 2012 showed significantly more violence than R-rated movies of the same time period.

"We were shocked actually,” said Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State and co-author of the study.

Bushman said he is concerned by the results because other research has revealed what is called a “weapons effect” in which people act more aggressively toward others when a gun is present.

"I really believe that children should not be exposed to age inappropriate material,” he said.

Bushman and his colleagues found recent releases of the Terminator and Die Hard franchises had more violence yet lower ratings than their previous editions.

For example, they found 2009's Terminator Salvation had 13 segments with gun violence and was rated PG-13 while 2003's Terminator 3 was rated R yet had 3 fewer segments of gun violence.

"Basically, the ratings system in America is flawed,” Bushman said.

Bushman says he would prefer to see child development experts issue ratings instead of the MPAA.

Until that happens, he says parents need to be cautious about what their children see.

"Parents cannot count on the current ratings system," Bushman said.

10TV reached out to the MPAA for a comment on the study, but no one responded to our request.

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