Violence in G-rated animated films

JAMA. 2000 May;283(20):2716-20. doi: 10.1001/jama.283.20.2716.


Context: Children's exposure to violence in the media is a possible source of public health concern; however, violence in children's animated films has not been quantified.

Objective: To quantify and characterize violence in G-rated animated feature films.

Design: Violence content was reviewed for all 74 G-rated animated feature films released in theaters between 1937 and 1999, recorded in English, and available for review on videocassette in the United States before September 1999.

Main outcome measures: Duration of violent scenes, type of characters participating in violent acts (good, neutral, or bad), number of injuries/fatalities, and types of weapons used for each film.

Results: All 74 films reviewed contained at least 1 act of violence (mean duration, 9.5 minutes per film; range, 6 seconds-24 minutes). Analysis of time trends showed a statistically significant increase in the duration of violence in the films with time (P=.001). The study found a total of 125 injuries (including 62 fatal injuries) in 46 (62%) of the films. Characters portrayed as "bad" were much more likely to die of an injury than other characters (odds ratio, 23.2; 95% confidence interval, 8.5-63.4). A majority of the violence (55%) was associated with good or neutral characters dueling with bad characters (ie, using violence as a means of reaching resolution of conflict), and characters used a wide range of weapons in violent acts.

Conclusions: Our content analysis suggests that a significant amount of violence exists in animated G-rated feature films. Physicians and parents should not overlook videocassettes as a source of exposure to violence for children. JAMA. 2000;283:2716-2720.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Motion Pictures*
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Violence*