R rated movies – how are they affecting us?

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Jarom Carlson, Staff writer [email protected]

Photo credit: Laura Fox

Imagine for a moment: The lights dim, silence falls upon the crowd, and there you are with your coke and popcorn. Yes, that’s right – you’re at the movies, and the shows about to start. However, this isn’t just any normal film.

Growing up in a religion that teaches strictly against the viewing of “anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic” you begin to feel a bit edgy about some of the scenes that start playing before your very eyes.

Once again you’re faced with a decision. “Do I walk out or finish this R rated movie?” Ultimately, the choice is yours, but I hope you’ll make the right one and leave the theater as soon as possible.

In 2001, Christine Jackson, Ph.D., from Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, headed a survey of over 700 teenagers from various middle schools in the southeastern United States. The study’s purpose was to identify the relationship between smoking and the viewing of R rated movies.

At the beginning of the analysis none of the students were smokers. However, after three years, the results, as recorded in “White Teens With High Exposure to R-Rated Movies Have Increased Risk of Smoking Initiation,” attests that the white population of those who watched R rated movies more frequently were three times more likely to smoke.

Another interesting stat from “Preventative Medicine” in the May 2012 issue showed that R rated movies produced from 1988-1997 are most likely to feature main characters that smoke. The study analyzed the top 25 box office hits of each consecutive year during the sample period.

Okay, so I’m not saying that watching an R rated video automatically results in the viewer wanting to choose poor health habits while throwing ethics out the window. However, consider the words of English philosopher James Allen who poetically stated, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.”

The Book of Mormon also warns us to watch our “thoughts, and [our] words, and [our] deeds”. Although movies weren’t around in 150 B.C., the principal still applies.

Choose entertainment that uplifts and inspires. Surround yourself with media that help you want to become better. The fact is I can’t spell out every do and don’t when it comes to movie watching. And I don’t want to.

You’ve been given a mind of your own, and I trust that you’ll care enough to fill it with the best information possible, even in something as simple as choosing which movies to watch.