“Mom, I am NOT Going to End Up a Sex Slave.”

Hi kaasfnaden
Readers — This comment came in from a 16-year-old.  Seems to frame the problem of overprotection and parental fear pretty darn well. Read on!

Dear Free-Range Kids: Tell me about it. Kids need more freedom and less worry.

I live in a neighborhood where the violent crime rate is a small decimal. It’s a safe, cushy suburban neighborhood. The last violent crime happened because someone was mentally disturbed, a few years ago.

My friend’s mom wouldn’t let her go on a walk at 8pm on a Saturday with a group of 4 friends (several of whom were trained in martial arts, mind you) because she was afraid her daughter would get hurt. She watched over her via iPhone, texting her nonstop– the invisible leash, or so it seems.

Similarly, when my mom doesn’t want me to go out because she’s worried about me, she always pulls the weirdest defense. Last time, she said, after I got upset at her not letting me leave the house (I love to wander), “Well hey, just be grateful you’re not someone’s sex slave.”

W-whh-what?! I can’t leave my house because I might become someone’s sex slave? What, do we never get in our car because we assume every time we drive we will get in to a massive collision? Do we never leave the house because there are axe murderers on every corner of suburbia?

I was so disgusted when my mother said this to me, it made me really angry and violated, actually. Simply, she watches way too much Law and Order Special Victims Unit– a TV universe of rape fables and sexual violence that distorts our reality. Every episode is another rape. It follows the lives of detectives who have to deal with prosecuting/investigating rape every day and we enter their world through the screen. Every episode has to be entertaining, so anything possible can happen in the episodes– the more extreme the better. Some days it’s a normal rape, sometimes it’s a serial rapist, and sometimes we’re lucky enough to come across an episode where the rapist tortures his sex slaves. Exciting, isn’t it?

We forget that we live in the safest possible neighborhood on the planet, that we moved in to for the very purpose of giving children freedom and safety to play on their own. Absurd.

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53 Responses to “Mom, I am NOT Going to End Up a Sex Slave.”

  1. talesofacrazypsychmajor April 23, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

    A bit off topic, but the one part that tried to explain violence per mental health problems made me cringe.

    So just an important note:

    Mentally ill people are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.


  2. bushidoka April 23, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    There was a study released a few months ago which showed that people who watch those over-the-top crime shows actually really do believe the world is like that. So this girl is not just making that stuff up about her mom – it is really true. I’ll leave the googling up to you, to find it.

  3. Peter April 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    Off topic, but the networks can show the SVU rapists beating and raping their sex slaves, but not holding an unlit cigarette. Why are these shows still on?

  4. catgirl April 23, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    Even worse, this young woman is more likely to be raped or abused by someone she knows (maybe even a family member!) than by a stranger who would kidnap her to make her a sex slave. Don’t tell her mom that though or she’ll never be allowed to have contact with any human ever again.

  5. Christina April 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    @talesofacrazypsychmajor: I don’t know why that made you cringe. She was referring to a specific, single, event. She didn’t say that, in general, violent crimes are committed by people with mental health issues. Unless you are privy to the details of the event to which she refers, there is no reason to assume that she is showing any bias toward people suffering from mental health issues.

  6. Paul April 23, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    Lenore I think you found a great new guest blogger. Recruit her!

  7. jim April 23, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

    What Paul was sayin’…..

    OK, I’ll admit it; I’m a sucker for a Law and Order marathon. But I know it’s fiction! Ditto NCIS, which is my favorite cop show of all time, but I spent 1459 days in the Navy (not that I was counting or anything) and the Naval Investigative Service was never, never, never the good guys.

    But beyond seperating fiction shows from fact is the blurring of the lines on the news. I check on an elderly, housebound neighbor every morning – she starts the day before sunrise with local news and Good Morning America and by 8 am she is in a panic because we are all going to be murdered, robbed, raped, and burned up in a fire.

    Had another stranger abduction here in Houston just yesterday. 27 year old woman pushing the stroller down the sidewalk and a car came to a halt and a dark-skinned stranger jumped out, grabbed her two-month old baby, jumped back in his car and sped off. Alert the Newscopters! Yup, the mom dunnit – went off her meds, killed the kid and left him laying in the bushes by the bayou. Probably thought that with stranger abductions being so commonplace no one would question her story.

  8. jb April 23, 2010 at 11:26 pm #

    From the context, it sounds like the mother meant “You think I’m oppressive for not letting you go out, you could be oppressed far worse” rather than “I don’t let you out because if I did you could be kidnapped and sexually enslaved.”

    Still a bizarre example.

  9. Amber B April 23, 2010 at 11:33 pm #

    That was one of my paranoid grandmother’s excuses for not letting me outside by myself. She thought because I was the only white kid in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood I would be kidnapped for some sex slave trade going on in Mexico back in the 80’s. I tried to convince her that with all the security at the boarder ( especially to catch drug smuggling) “How could a blonde haired blue eyed girl go unnoticed?” She said I would be put in the trunk of the car ( which drug dogs would have sniffed people in trunks out). Now it’s hard for me now with how I interact with Hispanic people because of those kidnapping fears. Once when I was a teenager a Hispanic member of my church offered me a ride home when he saw me out shopping, but because of my fears I yelled and ran when he came up next to me in his car. When I look back at that I feel very sad that I allowed my grandmother’ prejudices affect me so much.

    One of my aunts had a similar fear, but it had to do with a German themed market place in her neighborhood, but it was due to her recollections of WW2 and the nazis. I begged her to take me to this marketplace almost everytime I would visit, and she would say “Oh and some KKK or nazi guys will take off with you and keep you as a sex slave as you are blonde haired and blue eyed.” ( Rolls eyes)

  10. Tom Accuosti April 23, 2010 at 11:38 pm #

    Simply, she watches way too much Law and Order Special Victims Unit– a TV universe of rape fables and sexual violence that distorts our reality. Every episode is another rape. It follows the lives of detectives who have to deal with prosecuting/investigating rape every day and we enter their world through the screen. Every episode has to be entertaining, so anything possible can happen in the episodes– the more extreme the better.

    The irony is that there are people who believe that children should not watch cartoons like Tom & Jerry or Roadrunner & Coyote because they are afraid that the children will think those shows are “real”.

    Seems to me that we need to form a PAC to force a Congressional hearing on the dangers of adults watching too much CSI.

  11. Micah April 23, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    My grandmother told me that if I went to a club (I was 18) that I would be kidnapped, shot full of drugs, turned into a sex slave and sent to Mexico.
    We lived in a predominantly Hispanic town and she’s prejudiced. We still tease her about that but she still thinks it’s perfectly plausible.

  12. airbornevet April 23, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    Wow. I wonder how these adults would cope watching “Taken”. No daughter would ever be allowed outside again!

  13. Jewels April 23, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    That would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad. A sex slave? Really?

    On a side note, I do watch these shows and find them entertaining to a degree. But I am always amused by who the victims are in each case. Most of the time it’s a rich or upper middle class person who was killed in a bizarrely motivated, sneaky and convoluted manner.

    Ask anyone who actually lives in the real-world law enforcement and they will tell you that most violent crimes are not planned, they are crimes of passion or convenience. They will also tell you that, while it might not be PC to say this, most violent crimes happen in low income neighborhoods. Drugs and alcohol often play a part. This is sad, but it is the way it is.

    Most violent crimes look nothing like the ones we see on CSI or Law and Order SVU.

  14. Claudia Conway April 24, 2010 at 12:52 am #

    My husband has noticed, with annoyance, that when a rapist strikes women are advised ‘not to go out alone’ in the area… whereas young men are much, much more likely to get attacked than women are, but no one tells men not to go out alone around a place where a man has been attacked. It’s as though because rape is seen as ‘more horrible’ than a physical attack, it’s therefore also more likely to happen.

    And generally parents are more likely to hold back their teenage daughters from going out, when its their teenage sons who face the greater risk.

    But for TV shows and films, of course, it’s always more telegenic to have a female victim of violence.

  15. June Kontvis April 24, 2010 at 1:15 am #

    The memory and emotions cannot distinguish between the real and the vividly imagined. This is why I find these rape-fantasy tv shows so disgusting. IWhy voluntarily submit oneself to experience the emotions of someone going through such a horrific ordeal? Young Lady, advise your mother of the real dangers of watching television.

  16. Amber W-B April 24, 2010 at 2:03 am #

    @bushidoka, my Googling fingers are failing me, partially because there are a LOT of studies about this (in fact, at least two entire mass-comm theories, cultivation theory and exemplification theory, deal with misperceptions of the world based on TV). I’m interested in the one you specifically are referring to if you (or anyone else) could find it again, though.

  17. Valerie Hawthorne April 24, 2010 at 2:10 am #

    Shows like those satisfy peoples “id” by proxy.

  18. Susan April 24, 2010 at 2:12 am #

    If I were this young lady’s mother, I would not let her out of the house either. I would have her in her room writing during every spare moment because that was one of the best written articles I have read. She hit the nail on the head in a concise, amusing, and persuasive manner.

  19. Roberto Padow April 24, 2010 at 3:06 am #

    The girl who sent this story shows she has a lot more sense than her mother, which leads to a point I’ve made repeatedly: as was with my generation, (the 1950s) the older generation then (as now) was not at all any wiser than we were.
    And this leads me to yet another issue; the parents shouldn’t have any legal authority to run their sixteen year old son’s or daughter’s life.
    Unfortunately, few see it that way. A lot of time will pass and much has to be done before this is massively protested.

    Roberto Padow

  20. talesofacrazypsychmajor April 24, 2010 at 5:12 am #


    My problem is the implication is that saying a person has a mental health problem is considered sufficient explanation for what happened. Over simplifying the problem at the expense of a large heterogeneous group of people.

  21. janis April 24, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    Amen sweetie! Your children are going to have one cool mama! But Grandma… that’s going to be a whole other story…good luck!

  22. kate April 24, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    One weekend I had a Law & Order, SVU marathon on TV. By day two I “suddenly” realized that I should check out where sex offenders live in my neighborhood and just how many there were. Oddly enough, what I discovered relieved my concerns.
    * I learned about the difference between level 1, 2, and 3 offenders.
    *I learned that NYC has horrible reporting statistics anyway, so there was really no point in looking the info up.

    When I quickly grew bored with my local stats (or lack thereof) I moved to other areas that I had lived in. At the time (I have not repeated this experiment since) I saw that there were three level three offenders in Historic Deerfield in Mass.

    I was left wondering if there was something about a historic area that called to sex offenders more than the surrounding areas or if they were roommates? Somewhat to my surprise, I was also left caring less than ever about trying to locate my local offenders.

    Without the SVU marathon I doubt it would have occurred to me to check, so I absolutely think that what you watch affects your outlook. But, it took two straight days of it being on to get me that far, and in the end, I had less fear than before. The people watching these shows bring their own history and fears and that also impacts the outcome.

    Now…. Get me watching a little Criminal Minds, and I start seeing every possible situation as a way to be killed. Even then, these ideas simply exist on a theoretical level and don’t much interfere with how I live my life.

  23. Sandra B. (Australia) April 24, 2010 at 7:29 am #

    As a mother of five kids, I physically could not have supervised them all at once even if I wanted to do that.

    If I had kept them all under house arrest for 18 years we all would have gone crazy and probably beat the crap out of each other. (Anyone studied sibling violence / bullying and helicopter parenting yet?)

    So I spent a lot of years worrying. Every time my daughter, (11 years old) had to catch a bus from the city after dark (because she wanted to go to the best ballet school and it was 45 minutes by bus away (I didn’t have a car back then, we were really poor.) I worried and prayed and panicked all the time until she got home.

    Then at 20 she boarded a plane to London on her own with no job to go to and just friends to bunk with for a couple of weeks (we had no family there). She found a jon, a flat and eventually a husband and now earns $2000 a day running big organisations.

    Worrying about her was part of my job description. Risking the feelings of guilt if she had ever been hurt or killed was my duty as a mother. I had no right to lock her or her four siblings up just so I could avoid worry and potential guilt.

    If you have kids it goes with the territory.

  24. Sandra B. (Australia) April 24, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    oops typo, jon =job

  25. B. Durbin April 24, 2010 at 7:40 am #

    This kind of fear is interesting to me because I was a free-range kid— who actually did have a stranger abduction/murder happen to a girl in my brother’s class. The man came up and, according to her siblings, wanted to show her some baby ducklings. Then he killed her in a public park (right next to my family church; they removed all the low-lying ground cover immediately after that. And my mom wouldn’t go to that park for well over a decade because of the bad mental associations.)

    The reason this is interesting is that this was in the early 80s, when “stranger danger” was ramping up into a huge fear. What happened? Well, we got some training videos in grade school about not going off with strangers (one such video had the “stranger” with a puppet crocodile— not a bad idea.) We learned about code words and how strangers lie to get you to go with them. And… that’s about it. Don’t go off by yourself (except to the store to get eggs— that’s not too far by bike.) Make sure your parents know where you are. And be home by six or you’re going to get it.

    So— it happens. I’m about as close to it happening without it affecting me personally. And in spite of that, my family did not live in fear.

    My mom would probably have been upset at me walking home after dark in the same city as a serial killer, though. 😀 (Yes, I really did that. It’s not as though I had a car…)

  26. Angeline Duran Piotrowski April 24, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    She’s a good writer. You go girl.

  27. bmj2k April 24, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    People who watch TV to see the real world need to get outside and live in the real world.

  28. Stephanie - Home with the Kids April 24, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    What a great perspective you have on your safety. Even if your mother has an exaggerated sense of danger, you’re doing great.

  29. Sean April 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    Be thankful that you can SEE the overprotectiveness for what it is. Imagine if you internalized the world truly being that crazy and dangerous….

  30. SueG April 24, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    Thank goodness there’s at least ONE teenager out there who recognizes that this is foolishness.

  31. Hannah @A Mother in Israel April 25, 2010 at 1:28 am #

    Remember the story a few years back about the teen who was targeted on the internet by pedophiles, who gradually convinced him to take off more and more of his clothes in front of his webcam? I told that story to my teen son, who assured me that if I got him his own computer he would never do that. He paused for a moment, then continued. “And if you don’t, I will.”

  32. Jenni Veal April 25, 2010 at 2:56 am #

    This young girl is right on. And I think shows like Law & Order are too violent and help to create an irrational fear of the world, which ultimately harms our children. Why do we need a television show that deals with rape in every episode anyway? I don’t even want to know how many people spend an hour watching it and letting that violence fill their brains each week. I suggest turnign off the TV and doing something constructive with or for your children – or yourself. Why not sit on the front porch listening to the crickets or reading with glass of wine for an hour in the evening instead of watching voilent rape crimes?

    Jenni Veal

  33. Nicole April 25, 2010 at 4:54 am #

    First, I can’t bring myself to understand the appeal of these shows. The “plain” violence ones are bad enough, but then SVU? How do people watch that?

    And I really hate how these shows are skewing peoples’ views of the world. I see people claiming that these awful crimes happen “all the time!”. But, they don’t! The cases that do happen, terrible as they are, are few and far between. Certainly not the common occurrences people make them out to be!

    I can’t comprehend how some of these people manage day-to-day. It seems like it’d be incredibly stressful to be constantly looking over one’s shoulder for the “inevitable” bogeyman out to get you.

  34. Donna April 25, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    SVU is probably my favorite show on TV, and yet, I’m free range and I know that rapist, murders and sex slaves are not lurking on every corner. Adults, possibly excepting some with special needs, can actually tell the difference between a documentary and entertainment.

    The problem isn’t SVU and the ilk, which everyone knows is entertainment, but the news. It’s the fact that everything is sensationalized in the media. It’s the switch from an hour local news in the evening to a 24 hour news cycle that pulls every missing child report from the 4 corners of the globe and treats it as if it is occurring RIGHT NEXT DOOR every moment of the day.

    It’s the national obsession with a sex registry. Every time we treat the sex registry as if it’s as precious as the Bible, we validate the notion that sex offenders are everywhere just waiting to prey. I’m not saying that it can’t be a valuable tool for law enforcement or organizations who work with kids, but the general feeling in this country is that sex offenders are EVERYWHERE and you MUST regularly check this registry to keep yourself safe. That is not a healthy attitude.

    Even if you can get past the feeling that rapist lurk behind every tree. The reporters’ questions of “where were the parents” when any child so much as stubs his toe throw many into overprotective states. I know I’m probably less free range than I would like to be because I worry about a cop kicking in my door because I let my child play in the carport alone (yes, actually happened in my area and sadly the parent had some pot in the house and is now in jail). I remember several years ago when I lived in San Diego and the Danielle Van Dam case was big news (young child kidnapped from her bedroom at night by a neighbor and murdered). The press absolutely crucified the mother for weeks because she dared to go out at night to have drinks with friends (including the killer at one point) and left her children home with THEIR FATHER (who was not the killer).

  35. HLS April 25, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    I would add shows like 48 Hours & Dateline to the likes of SVU … they’re inherently exploitative, and they manipulate their interviewees and stories for the sake of juicy ads & sound bites that will boost ratings. Ratings! As people continue to watch, this fear-mongering will just be perpetuated. Sad.

    My mother is also a devotee of those types of television shows and she sounds exactly like this writer’s mother. It took many years and a lot of self-understanding to realize that my mother is actually just paranoid, and that while I do need to make wise choices, I am much safer in the world than she believes possible. I agree with the commentator above about the dangers of this fear being internalized and causing further generations of damage.

    -A 24-year-old who will DEFINITELY be a free-range mom in the future!

  36. Sean April 25, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

    Tv shows are TV SHOWS. Does this really need to be said? They no more MAKES people believe things than they MAKE people act in certain ways. Does reading Catcher In The Rye make you drop the F bomb? Does watching Lost make you fear smoke monsters? Does War of the Worlds make you believe in aliens? Come on…

  37. Taylor April 25, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

    @ Sean

    I don’t think anyone has said that TV shows “make” people do anything. It’s a matter of influence. To suggest that media has no influence is as ridiculous as saying TV makes people do things. Has anyone ever said “yada, yada, yada” or “Doh!” around you? I don’t think Seinfeld or Homer made them say it, but would they have said it if Seinfeld and Homer hadn’t?

    Some TV shows are clearly set in fictional “worlds,” others try to position themselves as showing the gritty side of real life. I know the original Law & Order sometimes said that the episodes were not based on any specific case, when it was clear that they were or were based on current issues to make them seem more realistic. When coupled with local media’s focus on violent crime, a picture is suggested that the world really is a violent place.

    Some people will take the bait more quickly than others.

  38. gramomster April 26, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    I love all permutations of Law and Order. I know they are fictional. I sure as hell don’t let my grandson watch those shows. I also love action/adventure movies, and disaster movies, such as Twister, 10.5 and 10.5: Apocalypse! They are ridiculous and amusing.
    I’m free range. I’m reformed helicopter. My youngest brother was stranger abducted and molested in San Francisco in 1983. He was gone for 7 or more hours. Nobody really knows, but that’s how long we were looking for him after my sister called my mom. He was 5. So that, along with the non-custodial parent kidnapping of a child who was in my mom’s care, and the kidnapping/permanent disappearance of Kevin Collins who took a bus from the same stop and at the same time as my other brother. So, kinda shell-shocked by 18.
    I reformed when my kids were 9 and 11. They’re 18 and 20. My grandson is 4. He’s free-ranging too. I don’t watch the news cycles AT ALL. But I love my Law & Order, even with the things that I’ve been directly affected by.

  39. Jenni Veal April 26, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    You can defend television all day long and the difference between fact and fiction, but the bottome line is when did voilent rape – the focus of SVU – become “entertainment?” And what, ultimately, does that say about viewers and our culture as a whole?

  40. Bob Davis April 26, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    My wife watches more crime-theme shows than I do, one reason being that I tend to get emotionally involved, usually hoping that the “cops” have an excuse to blow the “bad guys” into next Tuesday with heavy-caliber pistols and shotguns with “OO” buckshot. She has to remind me that no matter how nasty the “bad guys” are, they’re actors following a script composed by writers who know all the tricks that go back to the days of old-time “hiss the villain!” “mellerdramers”. And I remind her that our prisons hold thousands of real-life bad guys who really did harm innocent citizens, and the TV characters are surrogates for scumbags who should be taken out and shot. On the other hand, other than locking my car when I park it, and being alert in unfamiliar areas I’m not afraid to leave my house.
    Also, you may remember a year or so ago I mentioned that long before TV news, we had “yellow journalism” newspapers a hundred years ago that printed stories about young women riding streetcars who were injected with a fast acting drug, rendered helpless and taken off to a brothel to be turned into prostitutes. Fear sells!

  41. Sean April 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm #

    Hi Taylor. Of course an absolute like ‘no influence’ would indeed be a silly statement, but it is equally obvious that there is a vast difference between quoting pop culture and having a TV show create your world view. The mass news media coverage of a real event like an abduction will cause people to falsely believe that abductions are more commonplace than they are. The story of an abduction on Law and Order will do so FAR less.

  42. Uly April 27, 2010 at 1:21 am #

    And I remind her that our prisons hold thousands of real-life bad guys who really did harm innocent citizens, and the TV characters are surrogates for scumbags who should be taken out and shot.

    Our prisons are full of lots of people. Not all of them actually harmed people. I’m doubtful, for example, that most drug offenses are violent – and yet they’re more than half of the prison population! There’s people getting rich of of this, and using (ahem) Our Tax Dollars to do so.

  43. Brian April 27, 2010 at 2:24 am #

    Uly – EXACTLY! which is why in addition to reforming the sex offender registry, we also need to end the war on drug users that has caused so much damage to so many people.

    I would guess that our kids are much more likely to end up on the wrong end of a drug possession charge for the harmless (to others) act of possessing cannabis, than to be charged with a victimless sex crime.

  44. Donna April 27, 2010 at 6:23 am #

    @ Jenni Veal – Violent rape is not the focus of SVU. Arresting, trying and convicting rapists is the focus of SVU. Huge difference in my opinion. A TV show in which the “hero” of the show was a rapist would be a sad comment on society. A TV show in which police officers vigorously seek to solve a crime at sometimes substantial personal costs to themselves and rapists are always prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law seems to fall short of sad commentary to me.

    I would agree with your assessment if SVU glorified rape, but instead the SVU rapist is always portrayed as a complete degenerate scum of the earth. And, unlike in the real world where sex crimes are extremely difficult to prosecute, Olivia and Elliot get their man every time. Rape survivors by enlarge support SVU for that very reason – the rapist is not smarter than the police, the victim is always believed and treated fairly, and the rapist almost always gets what’s coming to him.

  45. Olivia Lee April 27, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Sounds totally familiar. As a tween growing up in squeaky safe Singapore, I had battles with my parents about giving me more roaming freedom. They feared gangs who kidnap children, cut off their appendages or tongues and sell them to begging syndicates in Thailand. Had to resort to joining cadet corps to show they I if I was responsible enough to handle weapons and train other teens in handling them I could at least be left to take the public bus home alone.

  46. Bob Davis April 27, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    I do make a distinction between “bad guys” who harm citizens, steal their property and/or invade their homes, and people who are convicted of possession of “dope”, illegal gambling and similar offenses that are more a lack of discretion than an evil act. We already have state-regulated alcohol sales and gambling, why not state regulated and taxed sales of marijuana and possibly other substances that help get some people through their miserable existences?

  47. Taylor April 28, 2010 at 12:43 am #

    @ Sean

    Yeah, the example I gave is clearly trivial, but it’s illustrative that media is influential. From your comment I misunderstood that you thought that TV shows _didn’t_ influence public perception, instead of just having less influence than TV news. That seems plausible enough to me. Again the question isn’t whether a TV show “creates” your world view, but whether it influences it.

    Considering the ratio of airtime devoted to crime shows vs time for news, the overall effects could potentially be greater for the shows than for the news.

    I figured someone had done a bit of research on this (evidence of influence, not which is the greater influence). Here’s a link glossing over a study done by folks at Purdue University. It doesn’t prove causation, but it does suggest at least significant correlation.


  48. Dragonwolf April 29, 2010 at 3:24 am #

    @Taylor — Re: Research on Media’s link to a person’s worldview

    I’m not sure about media and general worldview, but there’s been quite a bit of extensive research done on the link between media and violent behavior, particularly after Columbine, when video games were a prime scapegoat for explaining why it happened (and since video games have since been pushing the envelope for both realism and taboos).

    From what I’ve seen, the studies haven’t, overall, been able to correlate one way or another in regards to long-term effects. They have, however, shown short-term effects with fairly good correlation. I think it would stand to reason, then, that a) the effects of various media exposures (particularly as realism rises) would have similar effects that violent video games have on aggressive behavior, and b) long-term, steady exposure (such as near-daily viewing of such shows as Law & Order, CSI, Criminal Minds, the news, and the like, which can lead to the view that such crimes happen all the time) could lead to what are effectively long-term effects.

  49. Lauren May 2, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    I have to admit that I love watching CSI & SVU and shows like that. But, apparently, I can still separate fact from fiction. When did TV become the truth?

    Thank goodness for places like Free Range Kids – before I found it I thought I was starting to lose my mind because I thought kids were safe and could walk to school.

  50. Sara June 15, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    I’m 27 years old, and my mother insists on my calling her every two hours, to make sure that I am safe and ok. She also needs to know my whereabouts every second, “for security purposes”. This means that every time I leave the house, or go from one store to another, I am to contact her with the info. If I don’t, she will go ballistic (literal fits of screaming rage), and accuse me of not caring about her. As a child, and teenager, I was never allowed to so much as walk down the street, let alone go to the movies or hang out with friends. It was a very lonely and constricting lifestyle that, to me, was far more damaging than any potential risk of getting mamed by an axe murderer.

  51. ebohlman June 16, 2010 at 7:01 am #

    Sara: I’m pretty sure you’re dealing with actual mental illness on your mother’s part, not just overprotectiveness. You need professional advice on how to deal with this.

  52. m February 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Well for me there was a rapist “lurking behind the tree”. Three, actually. When I was 17. And it is stressful to be constantly on the lookout for potential bad guys, but what am I supposed to do? Forget being violently raped by three men who took turns on me? I wish! I would love to quit with the flashbacks! On the rare occasion that I’m out alone I take my large, protective dog with me and I’m constantly looking for exits and potential weapons should they be needed. It does happen and while I don’t think we should be teaching our kids to live in constant fear like I (understandably!) do, I do think that being taught to be aware of your surroundings and to avoid being in vulnerable situations is reasonable. BTW, rapists and car wrecks are my not-so-fearless areas. I promise I don’t live in fear in other areas.