The sheer quantity of violence on television can normalize aggressive behavior and make viewers become desensitized. The mind, as Gerbner puts it, becomes "militarized." The more dangerous the media shows our world, the more we believe them. We become fearful and anxious, depend more on authority, and take other precautionary measures, such as moving to gated communities and supporting capital punishment. Gerbner writes, "Growing up in a violence-laden culture breeds aggressiveness in some and desensitization, insecurity, mistrust, and anger in most. Punitive and vindictive action against dark forces in a mean world is made to look appealing, especially when presented as quick, decisive, and enhancing our sense of control and security." Sound familiar?
So what can we do to combat the negative effects of violent media? WIRED suggests taking action on issues that concern you, making sure to get your news from sources of integrity, and to consider going media-free one day a week. Learn more about violence and the media in the following videos.