Does Violence on Television Affect Adults?

Almost monthly we hear about some dude doing something horrifically outlandish to someone else. Dismemberment, suicide-murder, random attacks, all of which often show up on the likes of Dexter, CSI, True Blood or any other violently capable series. If you are a perpetual viewer of such genres you may have wondered, “Does violence on television affect adults?” Sure, we hear about programs polluting young minds but, as an adult, does the beheading you witnessed the night before make you want to lop off someone’s bean before coffee the next day?

Statistic Land

In 2002, Shankar Vedantam wrote an article for The Washington Post citing results from a study that tracked 707 teenagers for 17 years. 5.7% of those that watched television (including violent programs and the news) one hour per day committed a violent assault resulting in a serious injury such as a broken bone; those that watched one to three hours came in at 18.4% messing somebody up and for the three hour plus viewers a whopping 25.3% blasted their way through society. Then there is a 2010 Nielsen Media Research finding that the average person watched 143 hours of television per month which adds up to about four to five hours per day. Currently, it is estimated that most people are watching more television.

So shouldn’t society be steeped in machete wielding mayhem right about now?

The Naysayers

According to University of Toronto psychologist, Jonathan Freedman, “It has nothing to do with TV—it has to do with lifestyle, People who watch more than three hours of TV are different than those who watch less than an hour.” George Gerbner, former Dean Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania and initiate of television violence study theorizes that it creates more insecurity than aggression. He suggests, that “Watching programs about violent crime on a dark street does not turn people into muggers—it makes them fear becoming victims. Even as violent crime in American society has declined, he said, heavy television viewing is more likely to make the viewers believe they lived in an unsafe world.”

Now we went from aggressors to trembling sheep.

The Long and Short of It

Either way, it seems that, on a whole, negative energy has the ability to perpetuate a negative reaction. Just as positive energy can do the opposite. Many other studies have determined that negative, visual, stimuli potentially raises the heart rate and in turn, blood pressure. Once the body is under this stressful effect, it needs time to recover. Thankfully, most people watch violent programs in the evening and then go to bed leaving the images to swirl through their otherwise blissful dreams. By the time they rise, their brain has recovered and they eat their oatmeal with a smile.

So does violence on television affect adults? Probably not as radically as expected however you may want to switch it up now and again seeking images that stimulate on a more optimistic level, such as free naked Internet lovemaking.


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