Mass media expert on movie ratings, violence

November 12, 2013  

Glenn Sparks

Glenn Sparks 
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Expert on Movie Ratings

Glenn Sparks, professor of communication, studies the effects of frightening images on children, and he can talk about violence in films and how that affects people of all ages. He has studied how violence in movies appeals to moviegoers. Sparks' research also focuses on how and whether people enjoy violence in films as well as the idea of being scared. His research shows that violence and scary images often bother adults, teenagers and children, especially ages 7-11, who are often believed old enough to view such images. Viewing such violence can affect older children and teenagers' sense of well-being, he says.

"The PG-13 rating has been a safe rating for families in the past, but the reality is that what's covered under this rating has changed," Sparks says. "The violence is increasing, and it is disturbing because today's special effects make it so real. Often these films are popular blockbusters, such as the recent 'Batman' movies, and so parents assume they are safe and fun. But what's covered under this rating can be disturbing for older children, teenagers and adults." 

CONTACT: Glenn Sparks,  

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