Media exposure prompts risky behaviour

Washington : Exposure to activities like street racing, binge drinking and unprotected sex prompts risk-taking behaviour and attitude — thanks to the media.

The connection between risk-taking and risk-glorifying media, such as video games, movies, ads, TV and music, was found across differing research methods, media formats and various forms of risky behaviours.

“Risk-glorifying media has potentially grave consequences…substance abuse, reckless driving, gambling and risky sexual behaviour,” says Peter Fischer, psychology professor, University of Regensburg, Germany, reports Psychological Bulletin.

However, video games that glorify risk were more likely to prompt dangerous behaviour than passive exposure, such as watching films or listening to music, according to a Regensburg statement.

The authors examined research between 1983 and 2009 in the US and Europe, incorporating more than 80,000 participants. Most people were aged between 16 and 24 years but some samples included older and younger participants.

One study of 961 young adults found that those who watched movies showing people drinking were more likely to drink more and have alcohol-related problems later in life. Similar effects were found in other studies of smoking.

“There is indeed a reliable connection between exposure to risk-glorifying media content and risk-taking behaviours, cognitions and emotions,” Fischer said.

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