Folks! Just found this great Wikipedia entry. I hadn’t heard of “Mean World Syndrome” before, but it really makes sense! It’s almost a relief to have a name to give the ramped up fear so many parents feel. — Lenore
Mean World Syndrome (via Wikipedia)
Mean World Syndrome is a phenomenon where the violence-related content of mass media convinces viewers that the world is more dangerous than it actually is, and prompts a desire for more protection than is warranted by any actual threat. Mean World Syndrome is one of the main conclusions of cultivation theory. The term was coined by George Gerbner, a pioneer researcher on the effects of television on society, when he noted that people who watched a large amount of television tended to think of the world as an intimidating and unforgiving place.
Individuals who watch television infrequently and adolescents who talk to their parents about reality are said to have a more accurate view of the real world than those who do not, and they are able to more accurately assess their vulnerability to violence. They also tend to have a wider variety of beliefs and attitudes.