Five Reasons to Be Afraid of “Fear Thy Neighbor”

Given its name, it should come as no surprise to learn that Fear Thy Neighbor is a true crime TV show that focuses on feuds between neighbors that escalate into something much worse. However, it is interesting to note that watching crime-related TV shows can have a significant impact on society as a whole, meaning that there might be cause to be cautious of not just the neighbors but also Fear Thy Neighbor.

Here are some examples of how crime-related TV shows can affect society as a whole:

Increases Fear

Crime is scary. As a result, people who spend a lot of time watching crime-related TV shows tend to be more fearful of other people victimizing them in some manner. Something that should be considered a serious issue because of the widespread impact that fear can have on their behavioral patterns.

Increases Stress

For example, higher levels of fear tend to mean higher levels of stress. This is bad enough on its own because being under stress is an unpleasant prospect, but it is important to note that it can have important consequences for a person’s well-being in the long run as well. One simple example is how stress can suppress the immune system, thus making a person much more susceptible to infectious diseases in the short run as well as increase their chances of developing a number of serious medical conditions in the long run.

Exaggerated Beliefs About Crime Rates

When people are presented with new information, it is often incorporated into their knowledge base on a subconscious level. As a result, even though crime rates have been falling in recent decades, people still believe that crime rates have either remained constant or even risen because of the crime-related TV shows that they consume.

Fear-Driven Decision-making

Unfortunately, such exaggerated beliefs about crime rates can cause people on miss out on opportunities that could have made their lives that much richer. For example, getting along with the neighbors is often a good idea for ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted life in a particular neighborhood, but if someone is over-concerned about being victimized by their neighbors, that could cause them to miss out on opportunities for a new friendship. Even if they try to befriend their neighbors in spite of their fears, that concern could still cause them to hesitate and otherwise stumble in situations when they otherwise would not, thus hindering them in the pursuit of their goals.

Fear-Driven Attitudes on Law

On a societal level, exaggerated beliefs about crime rates can increase support for harsher enforcement of the law as well as harsher punishments, which can often have a counter-productive effect. For example, it is well-known that brutal prison conditions tend to increase the chances of a prisoner returning to the prison in the future, whether by making them unable to fit into the routines of normal society or by forcing them into problematic behavior through a lack of recourse. Summed up, fear can cause society as a whole to make decisions based on excessive emotion rather than sound reasoning, which can have results that will be counter to its interests.

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