Mean World Syndrome is a phenomenon where the violence-related content of mass media convinces viewers that the world is more dangerous than it actually is, and prompts a desire for more protection than is warranted by any actual threat. Mean World Syndrome is one of the main conclusions of cultivation theory. The term "Mean World Syndrome" was coined by George Gerbner, a pioneer researcher on the effects of television on society, when he noted that people who watched a lot of TV tended to think of the world as an unforgiving and scary place.
Individuals who watch television infrequently and adolescents who talk to their parents about reality are said to have a more accurate view of the real world than those who do not, and they are able to more accurately assess their vulnerability to violence and tend to have a wider variety of beliefs and attitudes.
GEORGE GERBNER :“Most of us live rather insulated lives and we don’t meet too many people of other groups, of other races, other ethnic backgrounds than our own. Most of what we know about other races, other ethnic groups, we know from television. And on television we get some very peculiar type of information.”
MICHAEL MORGAN: “Gerbner’s bottom -line point was that with out positive representations to balance the bad, the meanest members of minority groups are allowed to stand in for all the rest – creating a distorted and menacing picture that leaves viewers feeling under attack, and reinforcing a siege mentality that feeds–and feeds off of–anger and rage.