Negative effects of TV & movie violence on adults

By Alice Ladkin
Regular exposure to TV violence can increase aggressive behaviour.

In our modern world, violence is everywhere. Children and adults alike are often exposed to it every day, and two of the most dominating sources of violence are television and movies. There are studies to show that violent behaviour shown on TV and in movies can negatively affect an adult who watches it regularly in different ways, including becoming desensitised and making him more likely to commit crime.

Increased Violent Behavior

There is a risk that an adult who is exposed to TV and movie violence regularly will show an increase in violent behaviour, mainly through imitation. Especially if he has regularly watched TV and movie violence since he was a child, he can learn aggressive attitudes and act more violently that he might otherwise do without persistent exposure.


An adult who watches violence on TV and in movies on a regular basis may become desensitised. He might start to accustom himself to the nature of the behaviour he observes and therefore become desensitised to the harmfulness of such violence. The more he is exposed to it, the more chance there is of him showing a higher degree of callousness towards victims of violence.

Increased Fear

Being exposed to movie and TV violence might lead an adult to become more fearful in his everyday life. A study by Gerber and Gross found that heavy viewers who watched four or more hours of television a day were less trustful and more fearful of society than those who were less exposed to it. They found that TV violence exaggerated the threat of danger in reality, and could mislead people into believing there is no good in the world.

Increased Likelihood of Committing Crime

An adult who sees movie and TV violence may be more at risk of committing a violent crime. He may start to subconsciously believe certain unacceptable behaviour is acceptable, and is therefore is more likely than most to engage in illegal and aggressive behaviour. Such behaviour is even more likely to occur if he was exposed to a large amount of TV and movie violence during his childhood.

About the Author

Alice Ladkin is a writer and artist from Hampshire, United Kingdom. She has been writing professionally since 2008. Ladkin also runs her own pet portrait business.