Writing at Time.com, Stetson University psychologist Christopher J. Ferguson disposes of the latest study, this one in Pediatrics, denouncing the increase in depictions of fantasy violence in TV, movies, games, and the like.
Where the study's authors assert a causal link between movie violece and real world horrors ("We know that movies teach children how adults behave…"), Ferguson trots out the same data we at Reason have been citing for decades: "Both youth violence overall and gun violence specifically have declined precipitously during recent decades as movie violence rose."
Ferguson ends his column with this great passage:
As a media-violence researcher myself, I unapologetically take my 10-year-old son to PG-13 movies and have for years, knowing full well what's in them. At the theater I see mainly families, not hordes of unsupervised children. Moreover, there's a vast gulf between the cartoonish violence of PG-13 movies and real-life violence. Beliefs in the harmfulness of PG-13 movies rest on the notion that the human brain is unable to distinguish between the violence of Thor and violence in real life. Movie violence can sound offensive in the abstract, but I suspect if many parents were asked if they would stop taking their children to see The Avengers or Man of Steel, the answer would be "no."
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