Repeatedly seeing violence acts can lead to a gradual desensitization until you get to the point where it’s just a dead body, or just a murder. Nothing unusual.
We have become accustomed to turning on the television and seeing violent acts take place. But this is a source of entertainment. Witnessing homicide and law-breaking on TV is fun and thrilling for some, and occasionally even expected.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, a U.S. youth will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence by age 18.
As surprising as these statistics sound at first, it isn’t that hard to believe. Many television shows are filled with crime scenes.
Shows centered on solving crimes, such as Castle, Law and Order, and CSI, have at least one death per episode, with other sundry acts of misconduct scattered in to enhance the plot.
Supernatural, a favorite of mine, is listed as having “prevalent graphic violence [including] fatalities by fire, gunshot, stabbing, beheading, explosions and suicide,” according to commonsensemedia.org. And yet, I will continue to watch. Sure, it was scary at first, but now, six seasons later, I’m addicted, and I can watch it in the dark, home alone, and still sleep soundly at night.
But what does this mean for the human race? As their desensitization to violence grows, media will need to introduce even more violence. We have built up a resistance, and for the same fear we once had, we will need ever-climbing higher levels of violence and action to sustain us.