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ClipArt ETC is a part of the Educational Technology Clearinghouse and is produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, College of Education, University of South Florida. Ohio State students taking a trip to the movies might be surprised to learn that the PG-13-rated option likely has more gun violence than the R, according to a recent study. A study released by a team of researchers that included an Ohio State professor found the amount of gun violence in PG-13-rated films has increased dramatically in the past three decades, and is now more common than in R-rated films.
Brad Bushman of OSU’s School of Communication contributed to the study “Gun Violence Trends in Movies,” which was published recently in partnership with the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The study concluded the amount of gun violence in popular PG-13-rated films released since 1985, the first full year of the PG-13 rating, has more than tripled.
The study also found that the overall rate of violence in the highest grossing movies has more than doubled since 1950. Bushman became involved in the study after publishing a paper on the weapons effect, which claims the presence of weapons might be enough to lead to an increase in aggressive behaviors in a person. Because of the increasing popularity of PG-13 films aimed at younger viewers, these viewers are exposed to more violence in the film’s scripts, according to the study.


Of the PG-13-rated films from this list, 94 percent of the films were found to contain one or more five-minute segments involving a violent sequence. Gun violence was classified as the firing of handheld guns with the intent to kill or harm a living being, excluding acts such as hunting, accidents and the use of large-scale weaponry such as rocket-propelled grenades, according to the study.
There can be “depictions of violence in a PG-13 movie, but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence,” according to the Motion Picture Association of America, which rates U.S. Bushman said unrealistic violence might not make a difference to the audience viewing the movie, but audience members’ perceptions of violent acts might be impaired after being exposed to it many times. Other researchers in the study saw the results as harmful for the younger viewers who are the target audience for PG-13-rated films. Awareness of violence in mainstream films has increased, especially after various recent violent events. Some OSU students who are frequent moviegoers said gun violence is more acceptable to audiences today.
Evelyn Luther, a second-year in arts and technology, said film violence is generally less controversial than strong language or nudity.


Hareesh Menon, a first-year in physics, said the amount of violence in movies might decrease.
Garrett Merz, a second-year in physics, said while PG-13 gun violence is seen as less realistic, it still might have negative impacts on its audience. Merz compared gun violence in a PG-13 film to using a Nerf gun, in which shooting others is seemingly only part of a game.
Other students, though, did not see as much of a problem with the increase of gun violence in movies. Lucas Beaufore, a second-year in physics, said a PG-13 rating isn’t meant to be the deciding factor in whether or not children can watch a movie.
The wheat bundle symbolizes agriculture and the seventeen arrows represents Ohio's admittance as the seventeenth state.




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