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The Mean World Effect

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McKynley Larson

on 15 December 2013

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Transcript of The Mean World Effect

What is the Mean World Syndrome?
The idea that the world is more dangerous than it actually is, generally caused by the violent content shown by the media. This can also refer to the desensitization towards acts of violence that we may see.
The Mean World Syndrome
My Position
I definitely believe that the media has desensitized us to violence. We are exposed to approximately fourteen acts of violence every day, over half of them coming from movies, television, and the news. We see violence as a normal thing, nowadays, and the largest issue that comes with this is the fact that more and more young children are being influenced by the idea that violence is completely normal. Another issue with this is that we are presented with so much violence, we become paranoid that something horrible is going to happen to us, because 'If it happened to her, it could happen to me as well.'
Some typical things that are caused by the Mean World Effect are extreme paranoia (such as being too scared to walk down the street by yourself), emotional shutdown (partially or completely shutting down any emotion relating to fear or terror when confronted with scenes of extreme violence, or bloodlust, something that rarely happens, but is defined as the want/need to see/smell/feel/taste blood or see it being shed. Some people even find scenes of extreme violence funny or entertaining, the majority of them being young children, who are exposed to violence every day in cartoons such as "Tom and Jerry" or "Looney Toons," where there is no blood shown, but plenty of explosions, fires, and accidents that would kill a normal person.
This video shows how someone is gradually becoming more and more paranoid as the amount of bad things and violence that they are exposed to increases. There are also several very good statistics included in the movie.
The Mean World Syndrome
In a survey done in 2010, 49 people were asked how long they watched television every day. The average person watched over two hours of television per day, and 67% of those people reported that they felt that the violence shown made them feel slightly more paranoid about what was going on in the world. Extreme paranoia can be caused by the Mean World Syndrome, whether it be fear of being hurt by someone, or just the fear that someone is going to attack you at any moment.
Link: http://willm07.webs.com/
Concept Trailer
This is a trailer that pretty much sums up what people see every day when they turn on the TV: violence, murder, rape, death.
How I Have Been Affected
I've always been a jumpy sort of person.. Things scare me quite easily, like someone touching my shoulder when I'm not looking. But what doesn't scare me is violence. I read books like
Jack the Ripper
Battle Royale
, and I don't feel any sort of disgust or fear when it comes down the really gory, bloody parts. But that's what also scares me the most: the fact that I myself am perceiving this as normal. My siblings also see this as normal, all three of them believing that the only way to solve a problem is through violence and fighting, something that I have tried to teach them is not right.
Because so many of the children today believe that violence is okay. And if violence is okay, then what is there to stop them from bringing a gun into the next argument over who has to walk the dog? Or a knife to school for show-and-tell? The amount of violence that is being shown today has affected everyone, and it needs to stop before shooting someone becomes socially acceptable.
Full transcript