Is The MPAA Rating System Flawed? New Study Questions ‘PG-13’ VS. ‘R’ Films

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According to an article posted by The Hollywood Reporter, a study conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center and the University of Pennsylvania states there is “little difference” between ‘PG-13’ and ‘R’ rated films. The study concludes that violence is often coupled with sex, alcohol, and use of tobacco in both films.

The study dissected 390 films from the years of 1985-2010. Researchers documented the number of times violent characters participated in risky behaviors throughout these films, coming to the above conclusion. “Evidence shows that adolescents do engage in clusters of risk(y) behaviors, with their participation increasing with age,” the published study claims. “Youth, particularly those with impulsive sensation-seeking tendencies, may be at elevated risk for unhealthy behaviors as a result of their media exposure.”

The study closes with a call to action to the MPAA rating system to re-evaluate the methods of rating for films. “Our findings raise serious concerns about the effectiveness of the MPAA rating system for allowing potentially harmful co-occurring content in youth-accessible films,” it stated, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Kate Bedingfield, MPAA spokeswoman, when asked about the study, stated, “The purpose of the rating system is to reflect the standards of American parents, not set them — the rating board tries to rate a film the way they believe a majority of American parents would rate it. Societal standards change over time and the rating system is built to change.”

What are your thoughts? Should the MPAA better evaluate the rating system? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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