Research Watch: And Some More Bad News…

Diana Zuckerman
September 1, 2000

Fumie Yokota, M.S. and

Kimberly Thompson, Sc.D.

Journal of the American Medical Association

May 24/31, 2000, Vol. 283, pp. 2716-20

Available free at www.kidsrisk.harvard.edu or from
Dr. Thompson (with a 9-by-12 self-addressed envelope, with 66 cents postage) at Harvard School of Public Health, Center for Risk Analysis, 718 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115

If you had any doubt about the pervasiveness of media violence, this article will convince you: it quantifies the violence portrayed in all G-rated animated feature films that were released in theaters between 1937 and 1999, recorded in English, and available on videocassette in the U.S. late last year.

All 74 films contained at least one act of violence, averaging 9.5 minutes per film, and ranging in time between six seconds and 24 minutes. This carefully analyzed study found that the duration of the violence is greater among more recent films. The study documented 125 injuries, 62 of them fatal, in these cartoon movies. Most of the violence involved good or neutral characters fighting with bad characters — in other words, using violence to resolve a conflict.

The researchers point out that the message for kids is clear: violence is effective, fun and can even be funny. There are very few exceptions that rely on clever strategies instead of force, such as “Aladdin” and “Balto.” The implications for youth workers are clear: G-rated films can be very violent, adults need to be cautious about exposing children to them, and adults can use these videos to talk about violence with kids before and after they watch them.

The researchers recommend websites where adults can review the content of films and videos, such as www.kids-in-mind.com and www.screenit.com. I checked both out, and found the Kids-in-Mind review was shorter and yet had exactly the kinds of details that I needed to decide if a film was acceptable by my standards.


Zuckerman, Diana. "And Some More Bad News…." Research Watch review of "Violence in G-Rated Animated Films". Youth Today, September 2000, p. 14 - 15.

©2000 Youth Today. Reprinted with permission from Youth Today. All rights reserved.

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