We are all concerned about the mass media’s influence on children.
Certainly the media help reinforce some widespread misconceptions, and people often act on perception rather than reality.
For example: Violence in videos and on TV helps create the impression that our neighborhoods are dangerous places, and we need guns, police, and the military to protect us.
Detailed reports of crime and terror create the perception among young and old alike that the world is unsafe. As a result, more people stay home, especially in urban areas, or act in a more guarded way.
Ironically, this isolation by law-abiding citizens actually helps make areas less safe.
News programs generally lead off with the most violent occurrence of the day — as opposed to less newsworthy acts of ordinary kindness, courage, and friendship.
This gives a distorted view of just how much violence occurs around us.
Children who understand this distortion are better prepared to deal with the real world.
They understand that news reports are merely samplings of what is going on in the streets and around the world.
They understand that decisions on editing and story selection are made from thousands of choices, and are made according to professional standards of both news and entertainment value.
It is the oddity that is “new” and therefore considered news, rather than acts that are commonplace. And that is exactly the problem.