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