There is much discussion and controversy about the effect of films, TV, video games and the like on our psyches. Do violent or prurient images have a damaging effect on the minds, hearts and souls of children, or indeed adults?
There is research which supports the common sense view that immersion in the artificial world of TV and film and video games does have an effect on us.
Professor George Gerbner, a Hungarian/American academic, beginning in the 1960s, made a study of the effect of television on its audience. He gave evidence in 1981 before the US Congress where he coined the term “mean-world syndrome”:
“The most general and prevalent association with television viewing is a heightened sense of living in a ‘mean world’ of violence and danger.”
Apparently this mean-world syndrome results in people becoming measurably more fearful. They develop an exaggerated view of the level of crime and violence, and the prevalence of anti-social behaviour. This fearfulness in turn makes people act irrationally, protecting children from non-existent or exaggerated dangers and the like. And it makes people susceptible to manipulation by those who play upon their fears.
The most effective antidote is being ‘awake’ and present and mindful, and cultivating in ourselves all the emotional correctives to fear love, warmth, service of others, courage, fortitude, patience and the like.
PS I mistakenly gave the wrong date for our Sports Carnival in my last note. It is of course on the 11th November.