Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films.

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids
Getty Images / Peter Macdiarmid

New research suggests it's not just children who are becoming desensitized to violent movies — it's also their parents.

SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT / "CASINO ROYALE": "It doesn't bother you? Killing those people?"

"Well, I wouldn't be very good at my job if it did."

Researchers had 1,000 parents watch several clips from a handful of PG-13 and R-rated movies and found early in their viewing, parents said the movies were only appropriate for children aged 17 or older. But as the parents viewed more clips, they began to assign lower and lower age groups. By the end of the study, parents found most of the content was appropriate for a PG-13 rating. (Video via 20th Century Fox / "Taken")

The Washington Post points out this could explain what some are calling a "ratings creep." It's referring to a growing amount of violence and sex in PG-13 movies. 

20TH CENTURY FOX / "LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD": "I'll go get my daughter and kill this guy. I'll kill all of them."

Considering it's often parents who watch and assign movie ratings for the Motion Picture Association of America, this study's findings are pretty telling.

In an editorial published alongside the research, a medical expert explains, "Parent raters for the movie industry may become progressively more approving of violence in movies simply because of their job."

Ultimately, the research argues more lenient ratings aren't good for kids, noting: "Children are affected by what they see and hear. Research supports the connection between viewing violent media and later aggression in individual children."

This study, conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, was published in the journal Pediatrics.