Fear is an emotion, our emotions are based upon our ownand others actions. Fear of crime gives rise to the risk-fear paradox which isprevalent across all societies, independent of actual pertinent levels of crimeand security.
“Fear of crime can be consideredcontagious, because social interaction is the mechanism though which fear isshared and chronically worried populations are created. Even those that havenever been a victim of crime can be seriously worried about it” (Curiel, 2017).The media does engender fear of crime; the media’s socially constructeddistorted view of crime does result in higher levels of fear of crime withinpopulations, despite the fact that these media representations very rarelyreflect or represent the outside world. An important comparison which should be drawnin order to answer the question posed in the title is one between researchcompleted to study the impact/effects which playing violent video games has onindividuals.
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There is a distinct relationship shared between playing videogames and watching violence on television, this is because both involveindividuals watching depictions of otherwise unrealistic violence taking placein front of them. Social media isanother sphere through which through media engenders fear of crime, as fear ofcrime is dependent on a number of varying social factors ranging from as race,age, gender, income, education and marital status; in order to understandwhether fear of crime is engendered by the media or whether it is an inevitableconsequence of living in late modern society, it is very important to take intoaccount these other factors; in order to produce a complete answer to thequestion. The corruptivenature of media has been an issue which society and philosophers have contendedwith since the early Greek/Roman times. Plato set a precedent for society whichwould later unravel into debates on the consequences of watching too much televisionand playing violent video games. He set this precedent by clarifying thatcertain plays and poetry could negatively impact youth and should therefore beburned (Ferguson, 2010). In the 1930s social research commissioned on the basisof links between watching movies and aggressive behaviour (Ferguson, 2010).This research set a precedent for all future research to come in this topic, inthat it was found that there were lacks of control groups in the studies, aswell as a difficulty in measuring levels of aggression.
Fear ofcrime exists outside the realms of societal pretences and instead is acondition embedded within the human psyche. Levels of crime and security withinany society are obvious predictors for levels of fear of crime, furthermore, predictorscould be factors such as past experiences, demographic factors, and theperception of insecurity; which as of recently has emerged as a socialproblem. Jean Baudrillard’s theory ofhyperreality is one which will be closely considered in the answering of thequestion posed in the title. Fear of crime and hyperreality are associated inthat Surette (1998) put forward that fiction is closer to news than to reality,this statement being founded upon a study performed by Mandel (1984) whichdetermined that between 1945 and 1984 over 10 billion crime thrillers wereproduced. Cultivation theory is mostoften used to explain the effects of exposure to certain media and wasintroduced in the 1970s by George Gerbner. Gerbner’s research concluded thatheavy exposure to media content could over an extended time period influenceindividuals attitudes and behaviour towards being “more consistent with theworld of television programs than with the everyday world” (Chandler 1995). Results takenfrom Dowler (2003) indicate that “viewing crime shows is significantly relatedto fear of crime and perceived police effectiveness.” Dowler goes onto mentionthat regular crime drama viewers are more likely to “hold negative attitudestoward police effectiveness, although “regular viewers of crime shows are morelikely to fear or worry about crime.
Similarly, regular crime drama viewers aremore likely to hold negative attitudes toward police effectiveness, although abivariate analysis indicated that newspapers as primary source of crime newsand hours of television viewing are not significantly related to fear of crime,punitive attitudes or perceived police effectiveness.” Fear of crime and themass media share a relationship which is dependent on its audience (Heath andGilbert, 1996). Dowler (2003) reported that local crime news “increased fearamong those who lived in the reported area, whereas non-local crime news hadthe opposite effect” (Albany.edu, 2018). Local crime news has the effect of increasingfear of crime in occupants of higher crime neighbourhoods, furthermore,research has also elucidated that individuals whom both watch a lot of crimerelated television and live in high risk neighbourhoods also had higher