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Lynn Schofield Clark’s comment below exemplifies George Gerber’s cultivation theory that states the more time we spend watching televised news and entertainment, the more likely it is that we will perceive the views and claims presented as being reality. Cognitively, our brains slip into Alpha wave dominated patterns when watching TV which are the same wave patterns exhibited when we are close to sleep or hypnotized (a state when one is highly open to suggestion).

“In the U.S. we live in a culture of fear, as sociologist Barry Glassner has argued. In my book I discuss the role that the news media have played in relation to appealing to this fear, which in turn contributes to our sense of risk. TV news in particular highlights unusual yet poignant occurrences that their viewers will find troubling – they have to do this because they need to appeal to the lucrative audience of young parents in the 25 – 40 age category in order to stay on the air. So stories about children and Internet-related concerns, while important, receive attention that tends to magnify the sense of risk in a manner that’s disproportionate to the actual risk.”

— Lynn Schofield Clark, Raising Children in the Digital Age: An Interview with Lynn Schofield Clark (Part One)

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