May 13, 2010
Two observations found in the literature on social psychology, which explain succinctly why, whatever you personally think about it, you would be mentally much better off without your TV.
Mean World Syndrome
People who watch a lot of television believe the world is more violent and intimidating than it actually is.
If you are growing up in a home where there is more than say three hours of television per day, for all practical purposes you live in a meaner world – and act accordingly – than your next-door neighbor who lives in the same world but watches less television.
Our surveys tell us that the more television people watch, the more they are likely to be afraid to go out on the street in their own community, especially at night. They are afraid of strangers and meeting other people.
- George Gerbner articles on Mean World Syndrome
- Mean World Syndrome at Metafilter
- Mean World Syndrome at Wikipedia
The belief that the mass media has a greater effect on others than it does on oneself. I like to call this the “adverts-don’t-affect-me” effect.