Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Little difference between PG-13 and R-rated films, study says

Compiled by Herb Scribner, Deseret News National Edition

Published: Wed, Dec. 11 4:00 a.m. MST

 watching, theater, cinema, young, auditorium, clothing, photo, blond, fun, focusing, white, years, movie, sitting, european, horizontal, wife, male, casual, people, boyfriend, caucasian, 25-30, girlfriend, spectator, smile, relationship, lifestyle, audience, 20s, face, woman, group, good, person, husband, enjoying, together, joy, concentrating, enjoyment, satisfied, indoor, couple, man, joyous, shutterstock, thinkstock

watching, theater, cinema, young, auditorium, clothing, photo, blond, fun, focusing, white, years, movie, sitting, european, horizontal, wife, male, casual, people, boyfriend, caucasian, 25-30, girlfriend, spectator, smile, relationship, lifestyle, audience, 20s, face, woman, group, good, person, husband, enjoying, together, joy, concentrating, enjoyment, satisfied, indoor, couple, man, joyous, shutterstock, thinkstock

(, )

If violence was the only concern in opting for a PG-13 movie instead of an R-rated one, it might not make much of a difference.

According to a study done by the Annenberg Public Policy Center and University of Pennsylvania, PG-13 and R-rated films show a similar amount of violent behavior.

Using top-grossing movies over a 25-year period, the study found 90 percent of those films showed main characters using violence, and 77 percent of those films had characters engaging in sexual activity, or using alcohol or tobacco. For PG-13 films, about 50 percent of main characters acted violently or engaged in drinking, sexual behavior or smoking within a five-minute window, the study said.

“There is essentially no difference between the most popular movies rated PG-13 for younger viewers and restricted, R-rated films in showing main characters engaged in both violence and alcohol use or violence and sexual behavior,” according to the study.

This research comes about a month after a similar study by Annenberg and University of Pennsylvania that said gun violence in PG-13 movies has nearly tripled since 1985.

The Hollywood Reporter said the study also expressed concern over the Motion Picture Association of America rating system that offers a rating — G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17 — for all American movies.

"Our findings raise serious concerns about the effectiveness of the MPAA rating system for allowing potentially harmful co-occurring content in youth-accessible films,” the study notes.

But MPAA spokesperson Kate Bedingfield stood by the rating system, telling The Hollywood Reporter that the MPAA ratings are often reflective of the culture.

"It's important to remember that a PG-13 is a strong warning to parents about the content of a film, and it is accompanied by a descriptor that gives parents specific detail about which elements of the film warranted the rating," Bedingfield told The Hollywood Reporter. "The purpose of the rating system is to reflect the standards of American parents, not set them — the rating board tries to rate a film the way they believe a majority of American parents would rate it. Societal standards change over time and the rating system is built to change."

But watching violent material may have an effect on the mind, according to The Los Angeles Times. A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed post-traumatic stress disorder might occur because of things seen on television and forms of media.

“The study finds that those who spent more than six hours a day watching media coverage of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath suffered more powerful stress reactions than did people who were directly involved but watched less news coverage of the events,” reported the Los Angeles Times.

Researchers surveyed about 4,765 people, in Boston, New York City and across the United States, asking them to answer Web surveys and monitoring their stress levels. About 4.5 percent of respondents “report(ed) symptoms that met the psychiatric criteria for ‘high acute stress,’” said the Times.

"People who are most distressed in the aftermath of such an event are probably more likely to engage media coverage as a way of coping with the experience," researchers wrote in the study, according to the Times. "Although this may be beneficial initially, over time the repeated media-based re-exposures may contribute to a self-perpetuating cycle of distress."

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @hscribner

Recommended
1. 1.96 Standard Deviations
OREM, UT,
Dec. 11, 2013

I do not find this a surprise. The rating system has degenerated over time to not mean much except at the extreme levels (i.e. G rating vs R rating).

The 'For the Strength of Youth' material does not even mention which movie ratings are appropriate to use as guidelines. It uses a much higher standard and indicates the following:

"Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit."

If we are wise, we'll follow this standard and recognize we shouldn't depend on movie ratings. Also, the Parent's TV Council seems to maintain good family standards and is a resource families can use to determine if a movie may be appropriate to see.

2. Tyler D
Meridian, ID,
Dec. 11, 2013

Best I can tell the only difference between PG-13 and R is the level of nudity.

How perverse is a ratings system that allows levels of violence that would horrify a soldier be shown to a 13 yo, while not allowing them to see the human body in a manner that is completely normal both for ourselves ( unless you shower in a bathing suit) and in many countries not under the heavy influence of religion?

And this doesn’t even touch on the fact that the MPAA rating system provides exactly zero guidance between movies (with the same rating) that depict positive, uplifting messages and good character vs. movies that are depraved and wallow in vice, vanity and self-indulgence.

But the MPAA does seem to reflect the morals of the extremes of our society at large, both the narcissistic moral bankruptcy on the Left on the pseudo-morals (i.e., their obsession with sex & nudity) on the Right.

3. the truth
Holladay, UT,
Dec. 11, 2013

@Tyler D

Its easy to understand, one is real, the other is pretend.

Apparently you are more worried about pretend things, while a truly moral society is more concerned about what is real.

4. Red
San Antonia, TX,
Dec. 11, 2013

They should just change who is part of the group who chooses what it is rated.

Let's allow a bunch of Moms to be on the voting committee of what is appropriate.

Who is on it now? Probably a bunch of Hollywood money mongers who's only goal is to push R rated movies down to pg-13 so people will let their kids see them.

Change the committee and the whole system will work. No one from the industry should be on the committee. No clown from Washington either.

5. Hutterite
American Fork, UT,
Dec. 11, 2013

I'm not sure why this matters. If you need to be offended so badly, you will be. Keep your kids out of the theatre; this movie isn't 'wholesome' enough for them and they behave like apes anyway. Just stop expecting not to be offended when you want to be.