The average 18-year-old has seen 200,000 violent actions committed on television over the course of his life, including 40,000 murders.
And 75,000 nut shots.
The cold-blooded killer segment of our audience will probably notice that's an excellent violent action-to-death ratio, about five to one. We assume that many of those murders weren't particularly desensitizing and gruesome affairs, probably mostly involving a hero thoughtlessly mowing down an army of clumsy masked goons.
No face, no soul.
But regardless of the severity, the violence we view on television actually does have an influence on our behavior. A study that followed the television viewing habits of 700 children over the course of 17 years found that (again, after ruling out factors like poverty and neglect) more hours of television translated to more violent acts. Scientists found that 22.5 percent of children who watched one to three hours of television per day committed aggressive actions such as threats, assaults, and fights in subsequent years. If the children watched more than four hours per day, the percentage rose to 28.8 percent.
In contrast, only 5.7 percent of kids who watched less than one hour per day would go on to commit aggressive actions against others.
And only 3.4 percent would go on to deserve it.
Now, to be clear, violence in television isn't nearly as large an influence on future violent behavior as is living in an abusive home (or, say, having an obligation to avenge your family after your corrupt uncle usurped the throne), but it is seemingly enough to make otherwise complacent children into burgeoning thugs.
This example, as with many of the previous ones in this article, will no doubt yield many of you (and some in our comment section) to say, "But I watched the shit out of television when I was a kid, and I turned out fine!" That is no doubt true, and by the way, it conflicts in no way with any of these studies. They're not saying TV ruins 100 percent of the kids it touches. Just that you're more likely to have problems if you watch a ton of TV. So go outside instead. Or surf the Internet.
The Internet loves you, always and forever.
Learn what else science has answered for us, in 5 Douchebag Behaviors Explained by Science and 6 Sex Myths as Explained by Science.
And while we're on the subject, check out the Top 100 Animated TV Shows presented by our friends over at IGN.
Stop by Linkstorm to learn how the Internet will cure all your ailments.
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