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Study Cites Violent Content in G-Rated Films

May 24, 2000|From Associated Press

Many G-rated animated films--from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Pinocchio" through "Toy Story" and "The Rug-rats Movie"--contain a surprising amount of violence, researchers say.

In a study published in today's Journal of the American Medical Assn., two researchers cited scenes of fisticuffs, sword-fighting, gunplay and other aggressive action.

Hollywood is often criticized for violence in movies for adults, but parents should be aware of what is in G-rated movies, the researchers said.

The survey examined 74 G-rated theatrical films available on video and found that each contained at least one act of violence. At least one character was injured in 46 of the movies, and at least one was killed in half of the films.

The movies averaged 9.5 minutes of violence, with the 1998 King Arthur tale "Quest for Camelot" topping the list with 24 minutes of violence, or almost 30% of the movie.

The researchers said they believe their study included every G-rated theatrical feature available on video before last September.

"We were surprised that every single one of them had some act of violence," said Kimberly Thompson, assistant professor of risk analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. "We're just raising the red flag. It's important for parents to be aware of the violence content in these movies."

Much cartoon violence is slapstick intended for comic effect, whose influence on children's behavior is uncertain, said Fumie Yokota, a Harvard doctoral student in health policy who co-wrote the study.

"It may desensitize kids so much, they think it's OK and no big deal for somebody to be smacked in the head with a hammer," Yokota said.

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Many of the movies may send the message that force is an acceptable way to resolve differences, the researchers said.

Thompson and Yokota recommended that the Motion Picture Assn. of America consider changing its rating system to include more detail on the content of G-rated films.

MPAA chief Jack Valenti said in a statement that the ratings system in place since the late 1960s consistently receives "high approval marks" from parents.

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