While you might think that showing your child a PG-rated film is harmless, a new study suggests that this may not be the case.
Children shown a 20 minute PG-rated movie clip of 'The Rocketeer' or 'The National Treasure' containing guns were found to be more likely to pull the trigger on a firearm than those who'd seen a clip without guns.
The team hopes its findings will start a conversation on the various factors that can increase children's interest in guns and violence.
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Children shown a PG-rated movie clip containing guns were found to be more likely to pull the trigger on a firearm than those who'd seen a clip without guns (stock image)
Of the 52 pairs of children, 43 pairs found the gun in the cabinet drawer.
Fourteen of these pairs gave the gun to a research assistant or told them about it, while 22 pairs had one or both children handle the gun.
While the type of movie clip shown to the children didn't influence whether they found the gun or handled it, it did influence whether or not they pulled the trigger.
The average number of trigger pulls among children who saw the clip containing guns was 2.8, compared with 0.01 among children who'd seen the non-gun version.
The average number of seconds spent holding the gun also varied between the two groups, with those who saw the gun-version holding it for an average 53.1 seconds, compared with 11.1 seconds in the non-gun group.
Researchers from Ohio State University looked at the effect of showing film-clips that featured guns to young children.
The study involved 104 children – 52 pairs of siblings, cousins, step-siblings or friends - between the ages of eight and 12.
Each pair was randomly selected to watch a 20-minute edited version of the PG-rated films, 'The Rocketeer' or 'National Treasure' that did or didn't feature guns.
For the no-gun version, scenes showing guns were edited out, but the action and narrative of the film weren't altered.
After watching the film, the children were taken to a different room with a cabinet full of toys and were told they could play with any of the toys and games in the room for 20 minutes.
One drawer of the cabinet contained a real 0.38-caliber