How to protect your children from movie violence

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by DR. WENDY SUE SWANSON

KING5.com

Posted on November 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Did you take your family out to the movies this weekend? A new study shows that PG-13 movies have just as much violence as R-rated movies. Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of the Everett Clinic explains the impact this can have on kids.

If movies like “Die Hard” or “The Terminator” were released today, they would be rated PG-13. Why is this?

We are really concerned about what’s called “The weapons effect.” First described in the 1960s, the weapons effect is how you react when you are exposed to violence. Even if you are just shown images of a gun, it can change your level of aggression and how you respond to certain things. This is especially true for children. Fifty studies have confirmed the effect.

How are kids getting exposed to violence?


A new study, published in the December edition of Pediatrics, examined movies from the 1950s to 2012. Researches broke movies up into five minute segments, and coded them depending on the amount of violence. Since the 1950s, violence involving guns and other weapons has doubled. Specifically, violence in PG-13 movies has tripled since 1985, when the rating first debuted. PG-13 movies have become even more violent than their R-rated counterparts.

It seems like violence is a part of many movies marketed to young people. What can families do?


You don’t have to say yes to every R-rated movie that comes out. If you’re concerned about the amount of aggression coming from a particular movie, just say no to that movie. The number one thing to do is to co-view these movies with your children. There more your child is exposed to violence, the more likely they are to play or act out those scenarios. A site called Commonsense.org always reviews movies to give parents an idea of what kind of violence to expect.  

More about Dr. Swanson: Facebook | Twitter:@SeattleMamaDoc | Read Her Blog

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