Violent Movies Can Lead Teens to More Violence

FEBRUARY 3, 2020

The Southern California Prevention and Research Center at UCLA’s School of Public Health says that homicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15 to 24- years old. They suggest that violent media can be traced back to the root of this problem. Most PG- 13 and rated R movies contain violence, most of which is happy violence.

Happy violence is the violence that doesn’t seem as bad because it looks “cool, swift, and painless.” It doesn’t seem to affect anyone’s life. Happy violence and the overuse of media can desensitize people and make violence more casual and make people believe that there are no consequences for their actions.

According to the NBCI study, half of G and PG movies contain high salience violence. This violence is not to the same degree as the violence found in PG- 13 and R rated movies but has been found to be linked to being desensitized over time and leading to watching PG- 13 and rated R movies later on. The amount of media usage also plays a factor in desensitization. The more often violent movies are watched, the faster people can become numb to the violence and not even realize it. 

Parents can put limits on screen time and put restrictions on what rating their children can watch. Sometimes children click on a movie without knowing its rating or what it is about. Having a restriction on the rate of the movie will help with preventing an innocent mistake. Putting a limit on screen time helps make sure that the children don’t watch too much violence, but it also allows the children time to create and grow healthy relationships. 

For more information on media and parenting, read our position statement, The Impact of Media Use and Screen Time on Children, Adolescents, and Families. 



Huesmann, L. R. (2007, December). The impact of electronic media violence: scientific theory and research. Retrieved from

PG-13 Films Not Safe For Kids, Researchers Say. (2007, June 8). Retrieved from

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