Speaking Point: Media Psychiatrist, Dr. Carole Lieberman, studies the psychology of TV shows that cause anxiety and depression. She’s found that, not only do people who are more anxious and depressed tend to watch these shows, but that these shows worsen their anxiety and depression.
Speaking Point: What shows cause anxiety? News – especially before bedtime; and Reality TV shows like Teen Mom, Wife Swap, The Apprentice, Cops, Fear, Paranormal State and Ghost Hunters.
Speaking Point: The News goes by the maxim ‘If it bleeds, it leads’. The News causes anxiety because it parades a kaleidoscope of violence, danger, natural disasters and, in general, a world run amuck that the viewer feels helpless to do anything about.
Speaking Point: Many reality shows cause anxiety because viewers identify with the participants and feel their humiliation, fear and pain. They imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes.
Speaking Point: The News should balance their sensationalism and gossip with good news and important insights. Reality TV should be more careful and honest about choosing their participants, omitting the more vulnerable ones. They should also stop humiliating and terrifying all of their participants, and should provide on-set psychiatrists and aftercare psychiatric treatment.
Speaking Point: Of course, the worst offenders are violent TV shows-whether real or dramatized. Thousands of studies have shown that media violence causes people to become more violent, more desensitized to violence and more likely to think that the world is a mean place - the more violent media they consume.