A new study has proven what we all suspected for a while – that we are oversaturated and desensitised to sex and violence in films.


The real findings however are how directly this impacts our ability to judge whether a film is appropriate for children and teenagers. It turns out the more scenes of sex or violence we view, the younger the age we recommend it for.


“The rise of violence and gun violence in PG-13 movies means that lots of kids are able to go into movie theatres and see explicit violence,” said Dan Romer, the leader of the study.  


“We wanted to find out why parents didn’t show more concern. Why was this happening without pushback?”


The study looked at 1000 parents who live with at least one child between the ages of six and 17. Most of the parents surveyed were married, and 56% were mothers.


The survey first asked participants at what age they felt it was appropriate for a child or teenager to watch movies with sex scenes, and what age they could watch violent scenes. This initial question found parents suggesting an average of 16.9 years old for violent films, and 17.2 for erotic scenes.


The parents were then shown a series of clips taken from blockbuster movies, and asked again what age would be appropriate for scenes of sex and violence.


To the study leaders amazment, after repeatedly watching violent and sexual scenes parents dropped the ages massively - suggesting an average age of 13.9 for violence movies and 14 years old for sex.


The study also found that parents who watch film regularly were even more likely to lower their age recommendations.


“We were most surprised by how clear and dramatic the decline was to showing that kind of content to young people and the willingness to let their own children to see it,” said Dan. “Our entire culture may be undergoing desensitisation to violent movies with consequences that remain unknown.”