The Mean World Syndrome

Jeremy Earp

The Mean World Syndrome is a phenomenon where violent related content released by the media deliberately influences the audience to fear the world they live in, prompting a desire for more self-protection than is required.

It is one of the main conclusions of cultivation theory, a term that was originally coined by George Gerbner who was a pioneer researcher on how television and the media influence people’s ideas and perception of everyday life.

He noted that those who watch significant amounts of TV have the tendency to think of the world as an unforgiving and scary place.

People who watch TV infrequently and teens who talk to their parents about reality are said to have a more accurate view of the real world than those who do not, and they can more accurately assess their vulnerability to violence and tend to have a wider variety of beliefs and attitudes.

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