Think That PG-13 Movie is Suitable For Your Kid?
December 10, 2013- Tom Joseph
PHILADELPHIA - You may give the OK for your child to see
a PG-13 movie, thinking the content is age-appropriate, but a new study from
the University of Pennsylvania says that when it comes to some risky behaviors
on-screen, there's little difference between those and R-rated flicks.
Amy Bleakley is a research scientist at the University of
Pennsylvania who was a co-author of the study appearing in the latest edition
of the journal Pediatrics. She said the PG-13 rating, determined by the Motion
Picture Association of America, doesn't always stop the kind of material
parents may think it does.
"We found that there is really no difference between
PG-13 and R-rated movies with regards to the extent to which the extent of this
content is featured, except with tobacco and explicit sex, which is more common
in R-rated movies."
According to Bleakley, the big question, even after the
release of this study, revolves around how children process what they see at
the movies and whether they are more likely to act out on a broad range of
"We know that when kids see just tobacco on screen,
they're more likely to initiate smoking, and when, you know, they see alcohol
on screen they're more likely to drink, and so on, but we don't know the effect
of these clustered behaviors. So that's our next step. We want to try and find
The study looked at 400 of the top-grossing movies
released from 1985 to 2010. In nine out of ten, on average, the movies showed a
main character involved in violence, and in just under eight of ten movies, the
main character was in scenes showing other risky behavior such as drinking or
Parents can review the Motion Picture Association of
America's definitions of what it intends each rating category to mean on the