Does PG-13 Mean Anything Anymore?

Posted on October 25, 2014 at 8:00 am

The Washington Post has an article about a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies,” with some disturbing conclusions about parents’ ability to make good decisions about the impact some media may have on their children. This is not just an issue of parenting choices — it is an issue of child health and ability to thrive.

According to Rentrak movie research firm, more movies have been rated PG-13 than any other rating every year since 2008 have been PG-13 movies. The category has consistently grown each year as the PG and R category slowly shrink. In 1999, 35 percent of top movies were rated PG-13. Last year, 47 percent were PG-13 and only one film was rated G.

But for many parents, the PG-13 rating is too broad. Movie studios draw limited audiences for G and PG films, with kids wanting to see the hottest action films, such as PG-13 rated “Guardians of Galaxy.” R-rated films have pushed the edge of their rating too, deleting just enough content to be appropriate for teens.

The new study comes amid fresh criticism that Hollywood has neglected family-friendly movies. Last year, Romer published a study that showed the amount of gun violence in PG-13 has has tripled since 1985 and in 2012 the category had more gun violence than R-rated films.

Test yourself with the Washington Post’s quiz on movie ratings.

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