Children's Movies Found to Depict Many Unsafe Practices

Still plenty of room for improvement by entertainment industry, study suggests

MONDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Although there has been a big improvement in the depiction of safety practices in movies targeted at children, there is still widespread depiction of unsafe acts with no portrayal of the consequences, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in Pediatrics.

Jon Eric Tongren, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Augusta, conducted a study of 67 of the 125 top-grossing G-rated and PG-rated movies from 2003 to 2007, and examined 958 person scenes. Of these, 524 (55 percent) depicted children and 434 (45 percent) portrayed adults.

There has been a significant increase in the representation of safety practices compared with the findings of earlier studies, the researchers found. For example, of 555 motor-vehicle passengers, 311 (56 percent) were belted, 73 (35 percent) out of 211 pedestrians used crosswalks, and eight (25 percent) of 32 cyclists wore helmets.

"Because approximately one half of scenes still depict unsafe practices and the consequences of these behaviors are rarely shown, we recommend that the entertainment industry continue to improve the depiction of injury-prevention practices in movies marketed for children," the authors write. "Clinicians should consider the impact of media portrayals of injury-prevention practices when counseling children."

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