Disney's animated Fantasia is famous for its whimsical interpretation of dreams, images and music. Starring Mickey Mouse, it's just the kind of art that opens the eyes of children. Luckily for parents, it's rated "G."
But it may also contain an unhealthy amount of violence and send the wrong messages to kids, according to a highly publicized study released by two researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (SPH).
Analyzing all 74 English language animated films released in theaters from 1937 to 1999, Kimberly M. Thompson, an assistant professor at SPH and Fumie Yokota, a graduate student, found that even the most benign had scenes of violence--and many had repeated scenes where friendly characters assault evil ones.
"Content analysis reveals a striking behavioral message implied by many of the G-rated animated films that the good guys triumph over the bad through the use of physical force," the study concluded.
To conduct the study, Yokota timed the duration of violence--defined in the study as "intentional acts...where the aggressor makes some physical contact that has potential to inflict injury or harm."
The results, which were published in the May 24 Journal of the American Medical Association, surprised both the researchers.
"There was so much violence that I had to stop [the movies and mark the violent segments] all the time," Yokota said.
Each of the 74 films depicted at least one violent act. From there, the amounts varied.
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