Study Shows Parents are Becoming Desensitized to Violent Content
The Annenberg Public Policy Center released a study that shows parents are becoming increasingly tolerant of violent and sexual content in movies. The study consisted of 1,000 people who were shown a variety of graphic scenes from PG-13 and R rated movies. Some of the films clips included in the study came from movies like ‘Die Hard’, ‘Casino Royale’, and ‘8 Mile’. PG-13 movies were included because these days the PG-13 rating comes with more violence that it used to. In some cases, a PG-13 film might have more violence than one rated R, but it would escape the R rating due to milder language and lack of sexual content.
The danger with this is that PG-13 movies can be seen by a younger audience, so more kids these days are seeing these violent scenes. The researchers wondered why parents weren’t showing more concern regarding this fact. Why were they allowing their kids to see movies like this without any pushback or hesitation? The answer came as the study progressed. After being shown the first clip, parents responded that the appropriate age for violent content was 16.9 years on average. For sexual content the average response was 17.2 years. After the sixth clip, the response had changed notably with parents saying that the proper age for violent content was 13.9 while the proper age for sexual content was just 14 years old.
The study showed that the more violent and erotic content the parents were exposed to, the more desensitized and apathetic they became. Dan Romer, the Annenberg Center’s associate director, said there could be societal implications if parents begin using more persmissiveparenting styles. He also said that the gun violence in society is reflective of what is seen 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.
This study serves as a companion to another study which showed that gun violence in PG-13 movies has tripled since 1985.