Luckily, Glenn Beck is not the president of the United States. Still, millions of people every night flip on their T. And you can imagine that if his dream presidency would be filled with explosions and bombs, his newscast is too. All of these news outlets have one thing in common:
Thanks to the hour news cycle, alerts of shootings, plane crashes, ISIS beheadings, crime, war and human rights violations are constant -- and this incessant news of violence and destruction may be messing with our heads.
The world isn't falling apartbut it can sure feel like it. The news can be violent, depressing and emotionally-charged. According to some psychologists, exposure to negative and violent media may have serious and long-lasting psychological effects beyond simple feelings of pessimism or disapproval.
The work of British psychologist Dr. Graham Davey, who specializes in the psychological effects of media violence, suggests that violent media exposure can exacerbate or contribute to the development of stress, anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD.
If it makes you more anxious or sad for instance, then you may subconsciously become more attuned to negative or threatening events, and you may be more likely to see ambiguous or neutral events as negative ones.
On a neurological level, when we're confronted with images of violence, we know that images or videos depicting violence are categorically different from actual violence -- so we don't process the input as threatening stimuli.
However, we internalize the negative stimuli, which can affect mood and cause one to feel more negatively towards the environment more broadly. Severity of symptoms, interestingly, was directly correlated with the amount of time the subjects spent watching television.
A recent study also found that being frequently exposed to graphic, uncensored images of violence is emotionally distressing to many journalists working in newsroom settings.
The journalists who were regularly exposed to violent video footage scored higher on indexes of PTSD -- including re-experiencing, avoidance and general anxiety -- as well as increased alcohol consumption, depression, and somatization physical signs of distress in the body.
The researchers noted that over time, exposure to graphic violence can cause a process of either sensitization, in which the individuals becomes more sensitive to emotional distress upon viewing the images, or desensitization -- a sort of numbing process in which individuals become habituated to what they see -- to occur.
This numbing effect, which causes the brain to exhibit less of an emotional response to disturbing stimuli, has been observed in those who have been repeatedly exposed to violent video games.
The diagnostic criteria for PTSD -- which was appended for the DSM-5 to recognize that not only experiencing something traumatic oneself but also witness a life-threatening trauma to another could lead to symptoms of the disorder -- acknowledges this to some degree.
Davey notes, however, that the DSM description does say that these events should be witnessed in person. Of course, it's important to note that exposure to negative news is unlikely to cause depression, anxiety or PTSD in individuals who are not already prone to these conditions.
But it can still lead to a pessimism and world-weariness that leads us to perceive the state of the world in an overly negative light -- leading us to ignore and overshadow the many things that are working.
What's clear from this research is that more positive news is needed to outweigh the violence and destruction we're exposed to every day. As psychologist Steven Pinker and international studies professor Andrew Mack write in Slate, the world is not going to hell in a handbasket, despite what the headlines suggest.
Violence has actually decreased, and quality of life has improved for millions of people. Journalism should reflect these truths. As Positive News founder Sean Dagan Wood said in a recent TED talk"A more positive form of journalism will not only benefit our well-being; it will engage us in society, and it will help catalyze potential solutions to the problems that we face.Media effects are measurable effects that result from media influence or a media message.
Whether that media message has an effect on any of its audience members is contingent on many factors, including audience demographics and psychological characteristics.
Be Afraid, America. Be Very Afraid: The Effect of Negative Media. Posted on April 25, “A society in a state of depression can’t think its way out of a crisis.” Be Afraid, America.
Be Very Afraid: The Effect of Negative Media ” sleeprun says: April 25, at pm. studies on the effects of media violence during 40 years of research, percent have shown a link between watching media violence and committing acts of real violence (Warning: Too Much TV is Hazardous to Your Health TV Turn-off Network).
You are what you watch, when it comes to violence in the media and its influence on violent behavior in young people, and an article provides new evidence that violent media does indeed impact.
The Dangers of Violence in Modern Mass Media Nowadays, the abundance of violence and aggression is spreading into our minds from Internet, TV screens and pages of magazines or newspapers. Potential harm of media violence to our society became a . Center for Media Education, Center for Media Literacy, and Mediascope. The videotape, “The Kids Are Watching,” produced by Mediascope, is an example of a program designed to stimulate discussion about television violence and its impact. Violent homes, violence on television, violence in the movies, violence in the schools all contribute to the increasingly violent society we live in. We have a responsibility to make a difference and apply the appropriate principles in order to help stem the tide of violence in our society.
Abstract. Despite the fact that some healing/ therapeutic effects of the virtual and TV world do exist, morally ambiguous media messages do not provide proper education about real-life violence.
violence, indeed, does have an adverse effect on certain members of our society” (Steinfeld, , p. 26). The NIMH report rein- That is, as the evidence for harmful media violence effects has grown stronger, news reports about harmful effects have grown 14 Media Violence, Aggression, and Public Policy.
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