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The real ratings war

Here’s something you probably know already: G-rated entertainment isn’t always as wholesome as it sounds. Researchers at the National Institute on Media and the Arts (NIMA) asked 55 adults—mostly parents or grandparents—to review hundreds of G-rated films, TV shows and video games. Their verdict: Half the movies and more than half the TV shows contained material they felt was inappropriate for 3- to 7-year-olds. One-third of E-rated (for everyone) video games also were objectionable. NIMA wants Congress to scrap the various “alphabet soup” rating systems and establish one universal code instead.

In addition, the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed 81 G-rated animated movies made since 1937. Some 47 percent showed characters drinking alcohol, and 43 percent showed them smoking. Worst offender: 1959’s Sleeping Beauty, with about three minutes of “alcohol exposure,” according to the study. The silver lining? Few animated movies made since 1990 show smoking or drinking.