Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Are PG13 Movies Really Rated R

I read an interesting article this week published by Phil Cooke. In it he poses the question if PG13 movies are more like rated R movies.  I cannot count the times I have taken my children to watch a movie rated PG or PG13 and was flabbergasted at the language and content of the movies.Characters dancing proactively, the language (damn, shit, using Gods name in vain,etc.) and the amount violence that seems to be acceptable in movies made for children. I ve been alarmed for sometime over all the cartoon movies made for adults that lure little kids interest, but now  I feel like they stopped trying to hide it and are just inserting filth into our children and we are allowing it by continuing to go and watch the movies. As parents we are to be vigilant in what we allow our kids to be a part of. You have to talk to them about the decisions you are making and the biblical principles behind them.

"The Los Angeles Times reports a new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics that reveals violence in PG-13 movies is skyrocketing and almost 90% of the highest-grossing recent movies have violent characters, more than three-quarters of which also engage in drinking, smoking or sex.

The study goes on to say that these PG-13 movies make violence look “as acceptable as these other behaviors.” The Times reports, “The study also found that the mixture of violence and at least one other “risk behavior” such as alcohol or tobacco use was nearly as common in films rated PG-13 as it was in movies rated R.”

Modern-day PG-13 movies like “The Hunger Games” and “The Avengers” are more violent than 1980s-era R-rated movies like “The Untouchables,” according to a new study.

The study examined two action movie series -- “Terminator” and “Die Hard” -- whose originals were rated “R” in the 1980s. In both cases, movies in the series released in the last decade received “PG-13” ratings, but had more violence than previous sequels.

The PG-13 rating was introduced in 1985, in response to parents who complained that their children were being exposed to high levels of violence in PG-rated movies. A problem, the researchers say, is that those movies are “more accessible today to viewers of all ages than ever before, such as on the Internet and cable.”

We’ve always been aware of “ratings creep” but I doubt if most people realize it has come so far.Other studies are revealing similar findings. The Journal Pediatrics just a month ago found that gunplay in PG-13 releases had tripled in fewer than 30 years and that PG-13 titles were now more violent than R-rated movies. These studies have shown that violence is everywhere in Hollywood blockbusters, with 89.7% of those 390 movies having at least one scene of violence.

The Times continued: “More troubling to the researchers, characters that behaved violently in 77.4% of those 390 films also engaged in at least one other behavior considered dangerous for children and adolescents, primarily alcohol use or sex, which happened alongside violence about 62% of the time. About half of those conjoined behaviors were immediately proximate, happening in the same five-minute window.”

The question isn’t about censoring a filmmaker’s freedom to do what he or she wants in telling a story. The question is about how accurate the MPAA rating system really is. Regardless of what you think is acceptable, families need a better way to know that behaviors are exhibited in a particular movie. In this case, the Motion Picture Association rates itself, so it’s no wonder the results skew toward selling more tickets"

What about you? Are you seeing evidence of this ratings creep? If you have children or teens, how do you deal with these changing standards in deciding what movies you allow them to see?

Phil Cooke is a filmmaker, media critic and adviser to some of the largest churches, ministries and nonprofit organizations in the world. He's the founder of the Influence Lab.

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