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Gun Violence in PG-13 Movies Has Tripled Since 1985

Since 2009, PG-13-rated films contain as much or more violence as R-rated movies

MONDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Youth are exposed to increasing gun violence in top-selling PG-13-rated films, according to a study published online Nov. 11 in Pediatrics.

Brad J. Bushman, Ph.D., from The Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues used trained coders to investigate the presence of violent sequences and guns in films. Each five-minute film segment for half of the top 30 films since 1950 was assessed for violence, and the presence of guns in violent segments was evaluated since 1985.

The researchers found that since 1950, violence in films has more than doubled. Since 1985, when the PG-13 rating was first used, gun violence in PG-13-rated films has more than tripled. In 1985, PG-13 films contained about as much gun violence as films that were rated for general audiences (G) or parental guidance (PG, suggested for young children). However, since 2009, there has been as much or more violence in PG-13 films as in R-rated films (age 17+).

"These findings are concerning because many scientific studies have shown that violent films can increase aggression," the authors write. "This research suggests that the presence of weapons in films might amplify the effects of violent films on aggression."

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