There's always going to be The New Rock & Roll, that new fad or thing that causes whippersnappers to act all crazy and wild like they've all gone bonkers. Typically, this is a fringe phenomenon, and political and religious radicals will be bewailing the development while the media just reports on it.
At other times, though, the negative press goes far beyond basic opinions and phenomena that we can document on camera. Speculation goes on that devious things are afoot. When this goes too far, a reporter is at risk of spouting "New media are evil!" Otherwise-rational people faced with uncertainty about what the New Media is actually like decide that just to be safe or to grab some attention they should go with the most inflammatory, headline-grabbing description they can come up with.
The motivation to demonize a medium can go much deeper than the desire of the media itself to make headlines. In our giant, pan-corporate world, there's a good chance that some news outlets are owned by a guy who owns a major recording label. All of a sudden HQ's interest in stories about devious pirating activities becomes quite noticeable. To an audience generally uninformed about what the New Media is like to begin with, whether or not the story is true is irrelevant: the ring of truth is what becomes important.
Bear in mind that the impression given can largely be due to ignorance, the Cowboy BeBop at His Computer misstep taken by someone who is already predisposed to distrust this "Cowboy Bebop" character in the first place.
Take the Internet as an example; though it has come to dominate our lives today, it had a much greater mystique in The '90s when it first became mainstream. People taking up professions in the media industry as a career and most of the people involved today still don't have a full grasp on what the Internet is, so when the assumption is that It's a Small Net After All, all of a sudden every little instance of graphic pornography or 4chan vandalism ends up speaking for the Internet as a whole. This mentality decreases a great deal once the industry and society have adjusted to major technological advances and sees them as the norm. In other words, when the Medium stops being New, it stops being Evil.
This is by no means limited to the Internet, although the sheer density of information we receive today can make it seem that way. Almost every new medium of communication or expression that has appeared since the dawn of history has been accompanied by doomsayers and critics who have confidently predicted that it would bring about The End of the World as We Know It by weakening the brain or polluting our precious bodily fluids.
The same thing has happened to basically every type of media in history, making this trope as old as mankind itself. Writing itself was hugely suspicious for example, as people feared that it would cripple the ability to memorise things, as this was now no longer needed as everything could be written down.
Sometimes the doomsaying has a kernel of truth. New media do change old media, sometimes for a net loss of quality in art or information. Most often, though, the new medium allows a new freedom from the old medium that makes for more opportunity. This is Older Than They Think, as you can see from the very first examples.
Supertrope to Social Media Is Bad and Digital Piracy Is Evil. See also: murder.com, Everything Is Online, Clickbait Gag, There Should Be a Law, TV Never Lies, You Can Panic Now, Books vs. Screens, and Appeal to Tradition. The opposite usually ends with Old Media Playing Catch-Up. If books or other forms of written communication are portrayed as superior, it may also be an example of The Power of Language.
The inversion of this trope, when new media develop a similar attitude toward the old boys' club, is Old Media Are Evil.
- According to accounts recorded by his student Plato, Socrates was hostile toward writing (which, while not exactly new in his time, was still the latest medium to come down the pike). Essentially, Socrates claimed that putting an idea down in written form "killed" it by depriving it of a mind in which to "live", making it worthless. His argument can be found in a dialogue as... written in The Phaedrus (written by Plato, we should note; Socrates left no texts). This, of course, makes this trope Older Than Feudalism.
- Besides that, Plato himself, in his specifications for the perfect state, included censorship of poetry in case it introduced subversive ideas.
- Something similar, though not quite as old: The Jewish Torah, according to tradition, has two parts to it, the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. The Written Torah makes up the first five books of what we know as the Tanach, Hebrew Scriptures, or Old Testament, whereas the Oral Torah eventually became the Mishnah and Talmud. For many centuries there was a strong directive to keep the oral Torah... well, oral. The point was that people were meant to memorize, discuss, and generally learn it out loud, and so keep it on the tip of their tongue. Writing was well and good for the general tenets, but not the specific details. However, it was later recognized that, what with exile, massacres, and the contemporary Roman Empire systematically hunting down all ordained rabbis (who, as their final exam, had to know the entire oral Torah letter-perfect) the whole memorization thing wasn't going very well, so the Mishnah (and later, its expansion the Talmud) was formalized in writing in around 200 AD.
- An Egyptian Pharaoh protested that the ability to write things down would inevitably result in his subjects' memories atrophying from disuse.
- Early Christians also tried to resist the introduction of punctuation and spaces between words into the Bible, because they thought that not having to parse words and sentences in your head made reading too easy. note
- Solon was very displeased upon seeing the formerly all chorus Athenian Theater get actors added to it. He even asked the first actor if he's not ashamed of lying in front of so many people. Sometime later, he made a theater reference upon seeing Peisistratos pulling off a Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
- In The Gallic Wars Caesar wrote about one Germanic tribe that despised writing, on the belief that writing makes people (and specifically their memory) lazy.
- Some medieval Catholic theologians railed against the printing press, declaring it a creation of the devil, mostly because, as it grew widespread, its most popular uses both undercut the Church's authority: the mass production of The Bible in the local language instead of Latin (which broke the Church's monopoly on interpretation of Scripture), and the distribution of the works of Luther and other Protestant reformers (which threatened the Church, period).
- It is interesting to note that the reasons they gave for their opposition to the printing press was its efficiency — it could produce almost perfect copies of any given work... And everyone knows that since perfection isn't human, it must be the devil who's making it possible. (Which of course is theologically silly even if you accept the Insane Troll Logic because the devil isn't perfect either. If the Insane Troll Logic is sound, it must be God who made the printing press.)
- It may come as a surprise, but European musical polyphony is a relatively recent invention, dating back only to the middle ages. It was, of course, immediately viewed by some as fundamentally immoral (because it made it impossible to understand the lyrics), and on those grounds, Pope John XXII banned polyphonic music in 1322 — by some accounts simply from liturgical use, by other accounts entirely. Later, after it stopped being new, another pope overturned the ban.
- Of course, it helped having music introduced by de Palestrina and others which was both polyphonic and comprehensible.
- Around the 13th century, Chess was considered a game of the devil, and forks were a devil's instrument. The fork argument makes some sort of sense; it looks like a pitchfork, and the devil loves those. But chess? Some also believed that it encouraged gambling and were offended that it allowed commoners to kill kings.note
- It contains forks.note
- The idea that chess encouraged gambling became such a prevalent thought because people used dice to make sure the game went faster, the church found gambling to be a devil's thing.
- According to some sources, dice wer used to determine who makes the next move, making the game luck based, but the familiar no-randomness form was fully acceptable.
- In 1254, King Louis IX (the holy one) forbade his siblings to play the game of chess.
- The promotion was also seen as controversial because it allowed every pawn to be promoted into a queen. Since the queen was the king's wife it would mean that a king could have more than one wife and the idea of even someone being able to have more than one wife was considered to be a perverted thought at the time as people were firmly rooted into Christian faith.note
- It also came to Europe from Persia—a Muslim country. (Check Mate is from Sha-Mat, Persian for "the king is dead.")
- The fact that the Queen is the most powerful piece was also controversial in some cultures for being unfeminine or emasculating the King. Alternate, gender-neutral titles like "the King's advisor" were used for the piece until the 15th century (see note about Persia, above).
- The moral panic against reading novels has been around for centuries before being replaced by newer media. One of the earliest examples is a central plot point in Don Quixote, where the main character goes mad from reading too much chivalry novels, and believes he is a knight himself. During this time, it was believed reading could cause gout, catarrhs, wasting, indigestion, colick, crudities, vertigo, consumption, and wind (according to dr. Robert Burton).
- The word "novel", meaning a story, comes from the older meaning of "something new and unfamiliar". Before the 1600 people publishing fiction tried to dress up embellished legends as true history (e.g. the legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood) or obvious and deliberate allegory (e.g. Utopia), but improvements in literacy, trade, and communications created a market for entertaining fictional stories set in the present day. In England during the 18th-century novel-reading became widespread, with many novels being specifically targeted at women, and this triggered a slow-motion moral panic that lasted for much of the century.
- As the telegraph began to allow rapid communication across the globe, some newspaper editors complained that it was destroying the art of journalistic writing. Instead of spending days or weeks on a story, reporters had to write quickly while the news was still new.
- The invention of the telephone not only prompted screeds bemoaning the impending death of literacy (because no one would need to write letters anymore), it also prompted widespread panic among law enforcement agencies, who realized that it allowed criminal gangs to conspire and plan crimes without having to meet in person, from the privacy of their own homes. According to some accounts, there were actually a few abortive attempts to outlaw the telephone for this reason (sound familiar?); instead, cooler minds prevailed, and wiretapping was developed instead.
- "The Hacker Crackdown", by Bruce Sterling, goes into great detail about turn-of-the-century anxieties about what the telephone meant for society and draws a parallel with the early online networks.
- In the film Kinsey, Alfred Kinsey, Sr preaches that it promotes lust, allowing a girl to hear the voice of her suitor on the pillow next to her. Or, of course, phone sex.
- Piano rolls long scroll-like rolls of paper coded with holes in them for use in player pianos were the first medium for cheaply making mass-produced "recordings" of music. At the time they were invented, the music industry was composed solely of publishers of sheet music. Predictably, these publishers saw the sales of pre-recorded performances as a major threat to their income, and lobbied the Congress (Parliament/Senate) of the American Union to not only ban piano rolls and player pianos, but to pass a law requiring any new system for music reproduction be subject to a veto from a collective association made up of all the music publishers. Congress didn't give in to their demands and instead created the "mechanical license" system. But not before the 19th-century equivalent of the RIAA trotted John Phillip Sousa before Congress to declare apocalyptically:
These talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country. When I was a boy...in front of every house in the summer evenings, you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or old songs. Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day. We will not have a vocal chord left. The vocal chord will be eliminated by a process of evolution, as was the tail of man when he came from the ape.
- Not long after Piano rolls came the phonograph, which could record any sound, not just piano music. The musical establishment predictably threw an even bigger fit, fearing that recorded music would drive live musicians to extinction and deny them proper compensation for their work. No one, apparently, realized that musicians would still be needed to record the music, and would become even more in demand as records allowed them to sell their music to more people than ever before.
- Supposedly, there was an initiative in Congress during the early 1900s to ban jazz music because it was "a bad influence".
- In Belgium there was, oddly enough, no moral panic against it jazz was actually embraced. This was probably due to the fact that Belgium had barely had any native culture of its own at that point (most popular Belgian music that was not jazz was foreign, usually French for the Walloons and Dutch for the Flemish) and the fact that a few very important jazz revolutions occurred on Belgian soil (such as the invention of the saxophone). The Belgian government of the time was eager to fund anything that was even the slightest bit nationalistic.
- Radio: It didn't matter that some European governments strictly regulated their own radio stations (the Irish government banned jazz, with a ludicrously broad definition of what "jazz" was) when Radio Luxembourg could broadcast sinful music all across Europe. In hindsight, you only have to bear in mind that the RTL group nowadays calls itself as the biggest mass media outlet in entire Europe to know that all that sinful music made them have lots of fame and money long before they expanded their business to television.
- Certain genres of novels were blamed for corrupting the youth e.g., suggesting to young women that eloping with mysterious strangers was a good idea.
- This era also produced the most spectacular aversion of this trope, formulated by Wolfgang Riepl in his 1913 work Das Nachrichtenwesen des Altertums mit besonderer Rücksicht auf die Römer. Known as Riepl's Law, it states that:
New, further developed types of media never replace the existing modes of media and their usage patterns. Instead, a convergence takes place in their field, leading to a different way and field of use for these older forms.
- The notion that Pinball games were entirely based on luck led to many cities banning them around the middle of the 20th century, on the grounds that they led to delinquency and gambling. A ban in New York City stood for over thirty years and was only lifted when writer Roger Sharpe appeared in court and gave a demonstration of precise aiming skills.
- The introduction of modern postal services in the 1850s, as explained by Cracked, led to paranoia in Victorian Britain and America. It was feared that the private, secure communication it offered would lead to the collapse of morality in women, as they could get into "clandestine correspondence with unprincipled men" and turn into whores. The last name of the British postal system's creator, Anthony Trollope (who himself got caught up in this moral panic), is still recognized as an old-timey synonym for "prostitute".
- Thomas Edison claimed that the Rise of the Talkies ruined cinema, arguing that, because screen actors had started concentrating on their voices, they'd forgotten how to act. By his logic, apparently the stage (which far predated film) had never produced any actors worth a damn.
- Averted for radio in Saudi Arabia; the king assembled a group of religious leaders, then had someone read the Quran over the radio. The assembled leaders agreed that any form of technology which allowed accurate transmission of the Holy Book was permissible.
- The Sears, Roebuck and Company catalog, as part of the revolution it brought to retail, also laid some important early cracks in the Jim Crow segregation of the rural Deep South by undermining its economic control over black sharecroppers, allowing them to buy goods through the mail on credit without having to go through local, highly segregated general stores. Needless to say, this did not endear the company to many segregationists. Their mail-order competitor Montgomery Ward (which only took cash and didn't let people buy on credit, and thus catered to middle-class white customers) paid people to spread rumors that Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck were either black or mixed-race in order to discredit them, and many general stores would refuse to sell stamps to black people to let them buy the Sears, Roebuck catalog — leading the company to put instructions in the catalog on how to ask the post office for it directly.
- The (re)introduction of television after the end of World War II prompted numerous pronouncements (both sober and wild-eyed) of its expected deleterious effects on society. One (probably tongue-in-cheek) example can be found in Stan Freberg's 1957 song "Tele-Vee-Shun".
- Hollywood's reaction to television was a panic attack, all but blaming TV for the Fall of the Studio System — something that had been in progress for years due to mismanagement. After the US government won a huge antitrust suit against the studios in 1948, the major studios dumped huge amounts of their libraries to TV syndication companies, deciding they were of little value otherwise (the VCR was still thirty years away). Worse yet, one of the now-liberated theater chains, United Paramount Theaters, merged with ABC in 1953. Its parent company Paramount smarted over all of this for years, and even had a hand in (trying to) kill the DuMont network — which just ended up creating Metromedia, the precursor to FOX. Anyway, by the 1960s, all of the majors, even once-mighty MGM, had TV production facilities, except Paramount. They were finally forced into it by new owners Gulf + Western in 1968 after G + W bought Desilu Studios from Lucille Ball (the minors never had a problem with TV, since they didn't own theaters, and Columbia Pictures in particular jumped in head-first way back in 1951).
- In a 1950s Superman film serial, Lex Luthor has a television station.
- FCC chairman Newton Minow's 1961 "Vast Wasteland" speech really wasn't all that important in the long run, was probably a decade too late to have the maximum impact, and unfair: you can take any medium and make it look bad by emphasizing the more vulgar output, not to mention that he illustrated the idea with the idea of staying through one station's daily broadcast schedule without using any discretion of choosing what to watch or even changing channels for alternatives. Plus, Minow's point was to remind TV broadcasters of their duty to the public, not a blanket condemnation of all television. Earlier in the speech he even said "When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better," and even admitted to being a fan of The Twilight Zone. So why was it considered such a landmark speech? Because the print media was terrified of TV taking their audience away, so naturally they decided a government official delivering a Take That! to television should be given maximum exposure.
- The famous anti-comic-book screed The Seduction of the Innocent featured as its last chapter an out-of-left-field denouncement of the evils of television.
- A moment in the history of Flemish television notes that in the early days there was no airing on Monday. That lasted from the launch of Flemish television until 1958. In hindsight, the NIR also had barely any programming output during that time. This just worked in their favor.
- One example of something good coming from this trope: Fred Rogers hated TV because the first time he watched it, he saw people throwing pies at each other and wanted to make something better out of it. He succeeded.
- In the UK, the problem wasn't with Television (The BBC commanded too much respect for that), but with Commercial Television (read:American television). In the '50s, when the idea of ITV was put forward, people started to predict terrible things, as the companies would aim at the lowest common denominator. This led many of the stations of ITV in the '60s being as straightlaced as the BBC, for a while anyway. The guardians did have a point when ITV did eventually aim at the lowest common denominator.
- In Belgium commercial television also had problems. When VTM was introduced the BRT tried to demonize it. The only reason why it still passed is that the minister of culture at the time stood firmly behind it. Oddly enough this time it was not because they allowed American programming, but because Belgian television critics feared that it would lead to television without quality, which was a realistic fear in the very first years that they made programming. Nowadays most critics would not fear it anymore though, because the fact they can win awards has stimulated them to make more quality programming.
- The Tabletop RPG, especially Dungeons & Dragons was such an entirely new concept of entertainment in the 1970s and 1980s that the Moral Guardians, who of course refused to understand it, found it easy to conflate it as some kind of sinister menace. There was a huge moral panic suggesting that RPGs were turning kids into devil-worshippers. When you remember that the major content inspiration, J. R. R. Tolkien, was a respected British linguistics professor and a close friend of ardent Christian scholar/Fantasy novelist, C. S. Lewis, the sheer ignorance of the Satanic Panic around the game is even more idiotic. Not that this has stopped some Christian fundamentalists, who cannot admit to being wrong in any crusade, from making this argument even today. To add insult to injury, Gary Gygax, the creator of D&D, was a Christian himself, and his sole reason for being reluctant to discuss the belief was out of the fear of hurting the reputation of Christianity due to moral panic.
- The synthesizer, while ubiquitous in music from the 80s to today, was controversial in its earlier years. Since one keyboardist can now sound like a full orchestra, there was concern over synths putting session musicians out of their jobs. There was also the misconception that they require no skill or talent, even though they require piano skills and knowledge of how to tweak the sound, especially in the early days of synths. Queen once boasted on their album cover that they don't use synths, even though they ended up using them towards the end of the 80s. The British Musicians' Union even attempted to ban the synthesizer.
- As early as 1980 or so, Saturday Night Live parodied the paranoia that the recording industry demonstrates any time something new appears that consumers might spend money on besides records with a short film (allegedly funded by the industry) that demonized video games to a ridiculous degree. "Why spend eight dollars playing Pac-Man when you can buy this Juice Newton album instead?"
- Just as Hollywood was afraid of television driving them bankrupt, the television industry was afraid of a new technology that allowed people to not only record and share TV shows but also skip all of those annoying commercials and get straight to the good stuff. The technology? The video cassette recorder. The time? The late '70s/early '80s. note
- In 1976, Bill Gates wrote "An Open Letter to Hobbyists" attacking computer hobbyists for pirating his BASIC software, claiming that it would lead to the death of software programming. Gates has since gone back on this view, claiming that software piracy has allowed Microsoft to expand into China and other developing nations. His words are "As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours."
- "Home taping is killing music!" In The '80s, the RIAA was scared to death of the pirate threat to their profits created by... the Sony Walkman. By recording music off of the radio and sharing it with your friends, you weren't listening to it through pre-approved outlets like radio or records. The RIAA gave the (completely unverified) claim that they were losing a billion dollars in profits each year to this insidious form of piracy. The irony, as pointed out by Cracked, is that home taping led to the creation of mixtapes, which were a revolution in the development of rap and hip-hop. Now which genre of music does the record industry get most of its profits from these days?
- In the UK, Citizen's Band Radio was a fad that only lasted a few years. But that was long enough for tabloid scares about teenage girls being groomed for sex over the CB, exactly paralleling scares about current social media.
- The '50s gave us The Comics Code ushering in The Silver Age of Comic Books and censoring the then-relatively-new (and thus scary) medium of comics and their influence on children, particularly of the horror and crime genres. A lot of the fears at the time stemmed from the idea of comics being exclusively for children. What the censors accomplished was purging everything that wasn't, a state of affairs that would last for the next twenty or thirty years.
- A '70s precursor to Cable/Satellite Mudslinging with the added bonus of being run in movie theatersnote : "pay TV"note vs "free TV"note . It was a Scare Campaign which urged people to sign a petition to ban "pay TV", as people shouldn't pay for what they already had for free and it would be another place where monsters appeared. According to some commentaries, this bilge was successful in some communities up until the day local governments discovered "pay TV" could be taxed.
- In 1989, when radio and television stations would get able to air from very far away, the idea was put forward by corporations that wanted to air television but had problems airing them in their own country to set up headquarters in London and air television for the country they wanted to air for through U-Turn construction. Cue the fact that public radio and television stations in the affected countries would say that this practice ruined television. In The Netherlands, where commercial radio and television remained banned until 1992, the Public Television network there even called the cops to investigate who was behind this criminal activity. In the end the people who aired radio and television there were found, sent to court and charged. Their channels, which were Cable One and TV10 respectively, were then taken off the air.
- On the same note there is commercial radio. Which ran for a long time, but had a late reintroduction in quite a few countries. In Belgium, for instance, the VRT was so panicked by the permission of commercial networks to broadcast commercial radio that they made Radio Donna in 1992 in an attempt to prevent commercial radio stations from being made. This is probably a positive instance of this trope, as Radio Donna grew and became the biggest radio stations of the late 1990's.
- Before going into the more obvious example of the internet, the growing prevalence of word processors in the early 1990s (technically starting with the introduction of editable-line electronic typewriters in the '80s, but not accessible to non-millionaires until the 1990s) received a furor of complaints similar to Socrates' objections to writing: being able to delete and replace letters or words before printing text was the death of proper language skills, and thus coherent thought, would degrade memory, etc, etc.
- People are still complaining that word processors have killed cursive, assumably because they want in on the more modern version of the "kids these days can't write properly like when I was a kid" complaint. note
- Digital. Piracy. Is. EVIL. This one is so prevalent that it has its own page.
- The SOPA bill was an almost textbook example of this trope. While many of the supporters say that they are only trying to cut down on internet piracy, the true intentions are essentially trying to censor the internet in the same way as Chinanote . The many opponents of the bill are left out of hearings, and the last hearing basically boiled down to poorly researched railings against the sole witness not for it (but really the only one allowed in), a representative of Google. To give you an idea, many of the supporters don't even use the internet, or even want to know how it even works. And yet, they completely ignore internet security experts and numerous tech companies who say the bill is bad news because they don't believe what they're saying. Read: people who have barely crossed paths with the internet saying that they're experts on the subject are wrong.
- Granted this is far from the first time that sort of thing has happened. It's probably best to expect people supporting these kinds of bills don't know what they're talking about.
- The SOPA bill was an almost textbook example of this trope. While many of the supporters say that they are only trying to cut down on internet piracy, the true intentions are essentially trying to censor the internet in the same way as Chinanote . The many opponents of the bill are left out of hearings, and the last hearing basically boiled down to poorly researched railings against the sole witness not for it (but really the only one allowed in), a representative of Google. To give you an idea, many of the supporters don't even use the internet, or even want to know how it even works. And yet, they completely ignore internet security experts and numerous tech companies who say the bill is bad news because they don't believe what they're saying. Read: people who have barely crossed paths with the internet saying that they're experts on the subject are wrong.
- Video games: Not only are Moral Guardians like Jack Thompson very quick to say that violent children are trying to re-enact video games, they're claiming that video games are like addicting drugs.
- A Harvard Psych explains why Moral Guardians are overblowing the issue.
- "He loved Video Games" is something that any gamer is absolutely loath to hear after someone goes on a shooting spree, which started when media linked Doom to the Columbine massacre. Expect to hear at least some news station say this after someone snaps and kills people, even though in many (if any at all) cases, the person never touched a game in their life, or touched a game so non-offensive there's no way it would have warped their minds to the degree that's claimed.
- "When you're in your 30s, there should be something more on your mind or attention than video games." Like shopping, and obsessing over American Idol results! (Never mind the fact that being a game developer is a life long career for some people.)
- Night Trap is one of the reasons why the ESRB exists today. The game caused controversy and was pulled from store shelves due to its "violent content" and its gameplay being centered around "capturing and torturing young women." It's a good thing that none of the senators involved in the hearing actually played the game. Otherwise, they would have found out that none of these things happen and they would have had to rely more on the content in Mortal Kombat to get the ruling that they wanted.
- Never mind the games, the systems themselves were briefly demonized in the late 90s. As consoles progressively became more sophisticated and powerful, there were numerous unsubstantiated claims that their CPUs could be removed by terrorists and then used as components in bombs, missiles or other remote-control terror-devices. It made even less sense in that some of the parts in said consoles were not proprietary, and anyone who wanted them could just buy them straight from the manufacturer themselves. Nevertheless, some people got as far as demanding anyone who wanted to buy a video game system should have to pass a background check first.
- Adding xenophobia to the mix, during the U.S. recession in the early '90s, some people resented the fact that the video game industry was dominated by two Japanese firms: Sega and Nintendo.
- Both games and gamers are still regularly smeared in the media even a decade later, with the "Video games cause violence" arguments being joined by "Video games cause racism, sexism and transphobia," despite running on the same debunked logic as the violent video games argument, and even a scare piece by NBC about how Discord (a gaming-focused social media program allowing people to create their own chatrooms) promotes white supremacy due to a couple chatrooms being used to help organize the 2017 Charlottesville protest (that were promptly deleted by the Discord staff right afterwards.)
- In 2019 the World Health Organization added "gaming disorder" to its list of diseases, making it the first disorder that pathologizes a hobby. Critics of the WHO's decision argue that, although there are certainly some people who take gaming to an unhealthy level, there's nothing substantial that separates it from other forms of entertainment to justify its own disorder.
- According to this story published in Variety magazine in March 2009, London-based media research company Screen Digest has calmly announced that free online TV (both pirated and ad-supported legal) is the single greatest threat to broadcast media. The thrust of the article seems to be that since it is so much easier to watch television online on your own schedule, there's little reason to view broadcast media with all of its ads and often arbitrary scheduling. In other words, the internet is offering a better product in the same way television offered a better product than radio.
- In her Nobel lecture, Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing calmly implied that the almost instant arrival of the Internet (in historical terms) has fatally wounded writing and literature.
- This also extends to the New Media itself, when attempts to commercialize it are effectively resisted by its users, such as commercial pop-ups being countered by pop-up blockers (which are currently built into every major browser) and other software that cleans ads from web pages (such as the Adblock Plus extension to Mozilla Firefox). Various industry groups are constantly hand-wringing about how this is "theft of service" and how it will bring about the death of the Internet. Because, as we all know, the Internet was built on the rock-solid foundation of advertisement before those pie-in-the-sky scientists and academics got their hands on it.
- If you have an adblocker and attempt to use Hulu, you'll get a notice demanding you turn your adblocker off or else the video won't play correctly (generally it will still play, but instead of ads you get black screens for the amount of time the ad would have run for)
- Though small websites and internet personalities urge people to disable AdBlock for their websites because the ad revenue helps to support the site. This eventually culminated in Adgate, when Linkara made a video trying to explain this and received a massive backlash for it (although as he himself noted in a later video, far more people complied with his request than complained).
- It doesn't help that much of the internet is now so choked with auto-playing ads and scripts that it's unusable without the blockers. So much stuff tries to run at once that the pages lock up.
- "The internet is Satan's domain!" — posted, of course, by someone on the internet.
- Due to problems associated with abuse of certain applications of cell phones, some school districts have banned them entirely.
- This isn't the first time, either; back in the late 1980s and early 1990s (when they were bulky and expensive) having a cell phone at school could get you arrested, thanks to the War on Drugs. The thinking went that "rich people have cell phones, drug dealers are rich people, so people with cell phones are drug dealers..." You can practically use that argument to call for the arrest of rich people. Nowadays, the bans are more because students were using them to cheat on tests (text each other answers, store info, etc) and have proven themselves unable to shut them off and not text during class.
- Wiley Miller, artist of the newspaper comic Non Sequitur, has gone on record about his belief that the Internet is ruining society, and he's taken several potshots at it in the comic. He has particular vitriol for webcomics. You have to wonder if he's even aware that you can read his comic online.
- Wiley was already criticizing computers back in 1992, but by the early '00s he started in with tongue-in-cheek conspiracy theories. Arguably Wiley also has a grudge against cellphones, too, but we must admit he managed to be funny despite being Anvilicious and to some degree he does makes sense — people can be media zombies, but that's mostly due to media aiming at the Lowest Common Denominator. But Wiley appears to hate the internet to the point that he'll sacrifice humor in favor of rant — it's Serious Business for him.
- Two local FOX News affiliates aired reports separately attacking both the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP on their effects on children.
- The Milwaukee station claimed that Nintendo DS made children easy targets for child predators, in the very unlikely chance that the predator would use his own DS to communicate with the child over Wi-Fi using Pictochat. Aside from the fact that it's far more likely to be in a game playing session than Pictochat, the Wi-Fi reception does not have a long range.
- A station in Philadelphia called the Playstation Portable a source for online porn from kids (for context, smartphones weren't yet mainstream). Of course, they were mostly showing people with the concern that a kid would own a device with no parental controls, and showing screens of websites showing how to make a bomb. If your kid is searching for such articles, perhaps his troubled nature is the problem, not the game system.
- In early November 2009, author John Grisham not only predicted the end of bookstores and the complete disappearance of printed books due to the Kindle and other ebook technologies, but confidently declared that they would also make it harder for new authors to get published because of the changes they will also make to the economics of publishing.
Alan Kaufman: "The hi-tech campaign to relocate books to Google and replace books with Kindles is, in its essence, a deportation of the literary culture to a kind of easily monitored concentration camp of ideas, where every examination of a text leaves behind a trail, a record, so that curiosity is also tinged with a sense of disquieting fear that some day someone in authority will know that one had read a particular book or essay. This death of intellectual privacy was also a dream of the Nazis. And when I hear the term Kindle, I think not of imaginations fired but of crematoria lit."
- This article argues that the Kindle — and perhaps all "high-tech" electronic technology — is just what Hitler would have loved.
- Although the Hitler comparison is hyperbolic, there's a grain of truth to it in that Amazon has an obnoxious amount of control over ebooks that you have bought and can delete them from your device at any time for copyright issues or other reasons. Ironically, this happened to some people with e-copies of 1984. Of course, the problem here isn't the technology itself, but the pro-corporate design of the system.
- In a town hall meeting in Merrimack, NH on 29 December 2007, then-Presidential candidate John McCain flat out declared his hatred of bloggers, as well as other alternative sources of news and information available to citizens, and did so in a way that makes it clear that he's not entirely up to speed on recent high-tech developments like cable TV.
- In 2008, the Pentagon sent up a red flag about the possibilities for terrorists to conspire in plain sight on MMORPGs. Given that the entire scenario they presented was manufactured out of wholecloth and no such collaboration has ever been detected (or even suspected before now), it seems pretty obvious that this is another "oh my god! bad people can talk together!" panic similar to the one raised over the telephone a century and a half ago.
- Similarly, a U.S. Army report released in late October 2008 suggested Twitter could be used by terrorists to coordinate attacks. Again, there was no evidence that such a thing was happening, simply that the Army had discovered a new medium of communication and determined that it did not magically prevent terrorists from using it.
- Brought full circle now that we know the NSA has been spying on people through World of Warcraft and Second Life.
- In 2008, Pieter De Crem, then the Belgian Defense Minister, told the Belgian Parliament that blogging is a "dangerous phenomenon" that "exceeds mud-slinging," which is why he got a New York-based blogger fired from her job as a bartender. Her crime? Blogging about De Crem and his aides getting plastered in her bar. On taxpayer's money.
- Social networking siteswill destroy kids' brains.
- Another set of articles came out about how Twitter makes people "immune to human suffering." Read the research that they're talking about — it has literally nothing to do with Twitter and Facebook. Read a more elaborate explanation of what it actually says.
- There has also been a lot of criticism of social networking sites because it's easy for young people to meet up with strangers. A few cases of girls getting raped or murdered by people they initially met on social networking sites like Myspace have given many members of the public the idea that everyone on the internet is really a middle-aged creeper trying to hook up with teenage girls.
- The case of a mother who posted to Twitter asking for prayers after her toddler drowned in the swimming pool resulted in backlash about what an awful mother she must be for thinking about Twitter at a time like that, and, of course, claims that her son would be alive if not for her Twitter account. There wasn't even any evidence that she'd been online at the time of his death — the initial outrage stemmed purely from the fact that she'd used a social media site to communicate her grief. The blog that started the ball rolling with the assumption that she'd tweeted through her son's drowning is now entirely devoted to digging up dirt on her.
- You'll also hear a lot of stories about people murdering people because of things that happened online. In fact, more often than not, the people involved in these stories already knew each other for years in real life and the argument that sparked the violence just happened to take place on a social networking site.
- There's also the argument that Facebook causes depression, which isn't really true and is misleading because it's not really FB's fault. It's more that it simply creates a social atmosphere where sometimes, people who already were depressed can become a lot more depressed (like when a person posts to their wall in hopes someone will notice them, their friends don't respond, and the person starts to believe their friends don't care about them). Really any form of communication that involves unintentional ignoring can do this, but FB gets a lot of flak for it these days.
- To quote an AFP article:
Putin harshly rejected a call for officials to examine complaints on the Internet about vote rigging in the recent regional elections. "On the Internet 50 percent is porn material. Why should we refer to the Internet?" he said.
- Considering how much of that porn is produced in Russia, you'd think he'd be nicer about it.
- According to some newspapers, new media is making them go out of business, which is why they are making their content online pay-to-view. They also aren't fond of political sites like Huffington Post or Free Republic which link to their articles and give a little blurb about the contents of the article.
- New Zealand media ran an article calling Chatroulette "the new pornography".
"Like its namesake it's dangerous, but instead of a bullet there's adult material!"
- ...and then there's this principal, who apparently isn't aware of his own blackboard project for students and wants all internet access to be restricted by parents.
- Another fun thing: Regelrecht, a TV show by the Dutch TROS, is now starting a public campaign to get libraries to ban access to sex and violence. Of course they aren't talking about books on violent killers or the erotic literature section, they mean access to the internet.
- There have been some attempts to make a blogger not have the same rights as a journalist.
- Then there's a Maclean's magazine article called the Internet sucks (the author calls that "terms crude enough for all cyber-dwellers to grasp") which is blatantly one-sided in its focus on mainstream Internet culture's flaws and guilt-by-association approach towards an entire medium.
- And yet that was on their website...
- Dr. Phil has this trope every few episodes, usually focusing on 1) Children who are kidnapped by some stranger they met on the internet and 2) Children who spend too much time on the internet or texting.
- Some years ago, a Danish nerd created a website called Lej en Lejemorder. Which translates to "Book an Assassin". The Danish media thought he was serious, much controversy about the internet ensued, and apparently, the guy also got some serious emails from people who actually did want someone to be assassinated.
- On a much more serious note, there are sites only accessible via TOR proxy that allow you to hire hitmen.note
- Essence magazine had an article about teens and their sex lives. It had this trope in spades, claiming that television and porn are the cause of the rampant teenage sex going on. It also had a little bit of Old Media Playing Catch-Up and You Can Panic Now, since anybody that doesn't know that there is porn on the internet probably lives under a rock, or at the very least doesn't have any teenage kids.
- Some people in the free and open source software community, while often extremely technically literate, are often ambivalent or even outright hostile to social networking sites, mainly due to privacy issues.
- In a combination of Clueless Aesop, Scare 'Em Straight and Very Special Episode, ITV's Tonight series seems to head this way; sometimes it just can't deal with the issues surrounding new media correctly, showing some elements of Fridge Logic. It's sometimes lacking in the research department, too (apart, maybe, from spyware issues.)
- Facebook is constantly being accused of stockpiling users' personal information for nefarious purposes. The paranoia increased tenfold after the company became publicly-traded due to people not knowing what that means, thinking the company is literally public, causing some uninformed users to post meaningless disclaimers that their info is private. Legality aside, the boring truth of the matter is that the only thing Facebook does with your info is use it to send you relevant advertisement, and even that is done by algorithm; Mark Zuckerberg is not leering at your spring break photos or stalking your every move.
- Unfortunately, it turns out that the NSA is monitoring pretty much every social media and email network in the world and stockpiling users' personal information for purposes which may or may not be nefarious.
- However, recent events have turned out that Facebook indeed has been selling users' private information, or at the very least, gives other companies dangerous amounts of access to their site data. The issue has become so well documented and widespread that national governments such as the USA and Canada are openly investigating them.
- A debate similar to the VCR incident cited under Digital Piracy Is Evil is now going on over ebooks — most notably Amazon's Kindle, which is selling like there's no tomorrow. Is this the end of printed books? Ask anyone who was around in the '50s and worried that television would be the death of movies what they think.
- With the rise in popularity of 3D printers, it was only a matter of time before someone made a 3D-printed gun. The online group "Defense Distributed" hosts CAD files for a fully functional plastic gun as well as lower receivers and mags for AR-15 rifles (the lower receiver being the part of the rifle that is legally regulated and serial numbered, and in some American states mags are regulated). There was a firestorm of media coverage and panic, up until it was pointed out that the printed parts and gun broke. However, eventually a design was made that was able to handle more than a few shots. A quick search on Wikipedia or Google can show a list of different firearms made with 3D printers. With the exception of the ones made with metal 3D printers, which at the time of writing (Nov 2014) are too expensive to be owned by common people, most 3D printed firearms are glorified zipguns, capable of only firing low-caliber rounds.
- Louis C.K. believes that smartphones make kids empathize less with their peers, making them meaner, and feeds a culture of being needy for attention or distraction.
- A number of musicians, including David Byrne and Andy Partridge, have expressed disdain for Spotify, with the former penning an op-ed in the Guardian saying that streaming would kill creativity. While that has some bluster the main complaint is the low royalties with these streaming services. Since this affects the livelihood of musicians, it could impact how they work when they get creative.
- Amusingly enough, Pope Francis recently averted this by stating that the internet is a 'gift from God'. Cue sarcastic responses of Wretched Hive communities.
- Similarly, inversions have been posted in local editorials or on tumblr blogs, wherein people thanked the internet for being able to find like-minded people from across the world. (Especially people who live in rural areas) One editorial in particular was of a woman being glad that her kids discovered the internet, as she was the only one at the office with no horror stories of receiving the "Do you know where your children are?" phone call, their teenagers being escorted home drunk or finding broken condoms and positive home pregnancy tests.
- When iTunes became popular, there was much hand-wringing from musicians (such as AC/DC, who kept their songs off of the service for years before finally relenting in 2012) and music enthusiasts that it would kill off the album by allowing people to cherry-pick the songs that they wanted. This article, for instance, hysterically bemoans that young music fans today will never be able to listen to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band "properly" because everyone will just buy their favorite songs instead of the whole album. On the other hand, some iTunes songs can't be purchased on their own in a deliberate attempt to get people to buy the whole album even if all they want is that one song.
- Interestingly, the advent of digital music purchasing has led to the resurgence of an even older phenomenon — singles and EPs, released in closer proximity, are becoming more popular than the longer full-length albums that were made possible by CD technology, and allows artists to dominate the charts.
- Kid Rock's refusal to put his albums on iTunes had the curious side effect of making One Hit Wonders out of two anonymous, studio-only "karaoke" bands: His single "All Summer Long" was climbing the charts without being available as a digital download, but this led to people downloading soundalike Cover Versions since they couldn't get the original: Versions of the song by Hit Masters and The Rock Heroes made the Billboard charts on the strength of downloads, with the "Hit Masters" version even briefly overtaking Kid Rock's version.
- Computer vision syndrome, with blurry vision and eye pain involved? Cell phone radiation allegedly causing cancer? Electronic overuse maybe causing health problems? The conclusion is obvious.
- Many Star Wars fans have criticized the prequel trilogy for using CGI instead of physical models and sets like the original trilogy. This article examines the special effects used throughout the franchise, finding that the techniques used in the PT weren't that different from the OT.
- On that note, there was backlash against the original TRON film by people who felt that using CGI for special effects was "cheating". Most notably, the film was disqualified from being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Special Effects because of this.
- This was not the only backlash in which George Lucas was involved. He was in fact also the very first film director to use digital cinema and he popularized the use of it with his company known as THX. There are still a number of famous film directors (such as Quentin Tarantino) out there who believe that digital filmmaking will lead to less traditional celluloid filmmaking and thus effectively ruin cinema. Internet journalists soon joined in with the backlash by writing articles arguing the same thing.
- By the late 00s the Venezuelan government attacked violent videogames, among other things accusing them of being tools of imperialism and capitalism and part of psychological warfare. Eventually they were banned (although it's not a very well enforced ban).
- There has been debate over using computers in the classroom and have been even banned already in some schools, mainly due to electronics serving as a possible distraction from learning. There's even a private school in London that bans students from using electronics even outside of school.
- Hayao Miyazaki mentioned in an interview in 2008 that he does not have a computer, fax machine, or DVD player, and has since forgotten how to use the VCR. He also does not use e-mails or text messaging, preferring to send and receive messages strictly through snail mail.
- Studio Ghibli seemed to be similarly rooted in traditional media like him (though not to Miyazaki's extent), with the Ghibli Shorts deliberately made unavailable for viewing online with harsh penalties for anyone who pirates them.
- Gary Turk's "Look Up" video is him complaining (in spoken word rhyme) about how smartphones and tablets are making us more disconnected, and that we should live life "the real way". Describing it as anvilicious is an understatement. One of the main plot points involves the main character meeting a woman and having a family because he didn't look at his smartphone. Ironically, many families only exist because of the Internet and online dating.
- With the rise of portable music devices, from the transistor radio to the Walkman to the iPod to smartphones, there have always been complaints that blocking out the outside world with headphones is antisocial.
- Within days of the introduction of Pokémon GO, news outlets passed along a number of stories relating to it, including people being robbed while playing the game, a woman stumbling on a dead body, and people playing in inappropriate areas such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In most cases the problems encountered stemmed either from a lack of common sense while playing or were risks one would take by simply going outside.
- Political cartoons depict GO players as dull and colorless people blindly enslaved to virtual monsters (specifically Pikachu) on their phones. As you can tell from the links provided, GO players respond by pointing out the irony of this trope applying to a game intended to get people outside and socializing.
- The first model of the iPad actually represented a somewhat bizarre inversion of the usual generation lines: Many young people compared it, unfavorably, to their laptops. However, the interface was so easy-to-use many older people found themselves becoming computer literate for the first time.
- The Wait Until 8th pledge, which rallies to have parents delay giving their kids smartphones until 8th grade for those same predictable reasons: Smartphones are addictive, serve as distractions in academic settings, wound relationships, increase risk of depression, risk kids to cyberbullying, and expose kids to sexual content.
- It's common to see some form of website have a user-made cartoon about people using social media to better their own status rather than help out whoever they're recording. One particularly memorable cartoon (On Twitter, no less) showed a before-and-after situation concerning a street performer. The first showed him receiving money from passersby and smiling as he plays his guitar. The second shows him playing with a crowd of people surrounding him and no money in his hat at all, instead recording the performance with their phones and explicitly talking about how many Likes they're going to get on Facebook for showing it. Never mind cases where Memetic Mutation has helped people get out of their then-poor situations, such as Antoine Dodgson or the Man with the Golden Voice.
- In the Netflix era, the concept of "binge-watching" has come under criticism from several directions, from complaints that it's "addictive" to some creators believing that watching episodes back-to-back ruins the way the shows were meant to be experienced, as if TV marathons never existed before Netflix. Health advocates have also attacked the sedentary nature of binge-watching. Some fans find it hard to discuss a series with someone who hasn't seen it without accidentally spoiling them.
- YouTube content creators have started catching lots of flak in the late 2010s, starting with a Wall Street Journal article accusing PewDiePie of promoting racism and bigotry due to a joke he made in one of his videos. As the years went on, the trend of news sites owned or funded by large corporations have been continually pumping out articles claiming that various famous and influential YouTubers or the YouTube recommendation algorithm have been radicalizing their viewers has grown significantly, to the point where they are now directly blaming YouTube itself for promoting such content, whether through recommendations or search results. Naturally, the accusations are coming from traditional news media and cable TV outlets, who see YouTube as direct competition since people are increasingly turning to independent content creators for entertainment.
- Hulu's hilarious ad campaign features celebrities from NBC and FOX shows (Alec Baldwin, Seth MacFarlane, Eliza Dushku, and now Denis Leary) admitting that television does, in fact, rot your brain, and that Hulu will rot it even more due to its convenience. They then admit that they are aliens who want to drink your liquefied brain mass.
- Serial Experiments Lain focuses on a strange, distorted and malevolent version of the internet called The Wired.
- Though notably it also explores the positive side; Lain remains connected to her loved ones because the Wired continues to exist, in the end. The evils of the Wired are largely related to the issue of how an expert information manipulator can use misinformation and people's desires to elevate himself into an object of religious worship.
- ×××HOLiC has a more sympathetic/realistic example of this trope: one of Yuuko's customers is a housewife who is spending all of her time on the internet, to the exclusion of everything else, including her family, and Yuuko ends up smashing her computer... though she notes that it was all up to the housewife; that she should do what she wants to do, not what her family want her to do. She even notes that if the housewife really wants to go back online, there's nothing preventing her from just buying another computer.
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: When Itoshiki Nozomu realizes that the Cute Mute of his class, who is only able to communicate through text messages, is actually a Troll, the kind of person who badmouths him on the internet but then behaves politely in every-day life so he cannot get angry at them, he summarizes this trope as the conclusion:
- Bakuman。 doesn't explicitly say that the internet is bad, but every time it comes into play, it's portrayed in a negative light; First when Smug Snake Nanamine attempts to create a popular manga via online committee, and then again when internet-goers catch wind of Mashiro and Azuki's marriage plans, leading to a massive backlash and wave of hate that jeopardizes Azuki's chance of getting the female lead VA role on Reversi.
- A more balanced, less obvious example: the antagonist of the second season of K is a King who builds an app that allows users to get powers from him without actually meeting him (as the other Kings require, since they recruit their Clansmen personally) or even being aware of Kings and the Slates from which they get their powers. As such, he has a much larger base of fighters, who operate mostly anonymously. Jungle "missions" (taken on for points that can be collected to gain greater powers) include basically trolling the other Clans, as well as planting small things like fake fruit and plushies in public locations - that have bombs inside. Or distracting all of the employees in a mall so that a robbery can be committed. Or helping a higher-ranking member get past security into a school so that they can try to kill someone inside. So really, he's weaponized the the dark side of internet society. However, the core members aren't shown as bad people, and it's not the technology that made them do bad things - one of the main characters is an expert hacker who infiltrates Jungle and is instrumental in stopping them from destroying the world.
- A Scooby-Doo comic once used as villains a gang of counterfeiters who were staging the haunted house masquerade to cover for their true operation... making counterfeit cassette recordings of popular music bands, which they would then supply to unscrupulous music stores.
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century by Alan Moore as it continued started showing off some Author Tract on this subject. Starting within the pages of The Black Dossier and Century: 1969, the world of the League started being portrayed in a more pessimistic and problematic way than it had before. Alan Moore in his views takes on that a lot of human culture isn't challenging or advancing as much as it should be. This is reflected in his on-page treatments of major post-midcentury franchises: Ian Fleming's James Bond is portrayed as disloyal to the Crown, incompetent, and repulsive, while Harry Potter was made into a murderous Antichrist figure and his world was accused of plagiarizing older literature. Superheroes as a whole are represented as a group of old people constantly getting their image banked off of by unscrupulous businessmen.
- Later interviews on the subject have Moore clarify that while he does view a series like Harry Potter to be a less challenging and safer work than, say, Performance, he doesn't hold that all modern culture is a nadir. However, this is compounded by the post-60's world of the League featuring fewer literary and alternative media characters. So while we know Moore doesn't indict everyone with this trope, it's hard to know who he would cite as an aversion.note
- Supergirl story arc "Good-Looking Corpse" has a guy launch an attack on the entire DCU metahuman community by creating a Foursquare-esque smartphone app for people to post metahuman sightings so villains can then track them down and attack them.
- This was brought back as a gag in Batgirl story "The Darkest Reflection", where common criminals mapped out the various Gotham vigilantes so they knew when to lay low (Truth in Television as people have attempted to do this against pedophiles).
- In Runaways, to prevent the Runaways from going to the police to reveal their evil plans, evil organization "Pride" frames one of them for murder, using the MMO he was playing as justification for why he may have done it.
- In DCeased the Anti-Life virus is widespread through the use of the internet and cell phones, with 600 million people being affected almost instantly.
- The Dick Tracy newspaper comic did a story arc where they essentially shilled for the RIAA, portraying people who pirate movies and music as not only being literal thieves (they beat up guards and steal stuff out of warehouses so they can... make bootleg copies of it), but equivalent to drug dealers, including making ridiculous, over-the-top new villain characters in the style of characters like Babyface to represent internet piracy. It even included panic-mongering in the form of notes to parents that "If your kids download music, you can pay the price!" with an image of a cop car zooming up to a house with its siren running, presumably so the cops can kick in the door and slam the parents to the floor, handcuffing them and hauling them right to jail because their daughter downloaded "Slave 4 U". (Of course, all indications are that the guy writing these comics is completely and totally insane at this point, but being the RIAA's henchgoon is just a new twist.)
- In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin's dad refuses to buy a VCR because "It's bad enough we have a TV."
- Of course, that probably has more to do with Calvin's taste in programming and tendency to watch at all hours than any inherent hate of the medium itself.
- In one of his notes, Watterson himself called TV "the favorite drug of the 20th Century".
- To further drive the point home, Calvin has notably never had a single video game console, and his father stated the same thing about VCRs about computers and the internet (which was in its infancy during the strip's run). He also believes transportation should have stopped with the bicycle and rants about too many choices at the supermarket. Watterson has made none-too-subtle attacks on comic books— or at least The Dark Age of Comic Books, which was in full swing at the time— where they are portrayed as absurdly violent and bloody.
- This attitude was mocked in a Sunday strip, where Calvin reads Dark Age send-up comic book that ends with the '90s Anti-Hero getting his spine violently shattered by a villainess's ray gun. Visibly rattled from the intensity, he leaves to watch something on television, only for his mom to turn it off and tell him to read something because "there's too much violence on TV".
- Mary Worth would like you all to know that if you use the internet, you will fall in love with a criminal, be deceived by someone pretending to bray your long lost child, and have your identity stolen. Facebook is not to be trusted!
- Candorville has it both ways — the anthropomorphized "Mainstream Media" is a loudmouth and a fearmonger, but "The Internet" is paranoid and dubiously sane.
- One Luann involves entirely unspecified fears.
Luann's father: I read an article on what kids do these days on the Internet. It's scary.
Luann's mother: Do you think our daughter's doing something like that?
- In this Gag Dub of an animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, Galadriel reveals to Frodo the horrifying future when Facebook will become like MySpace.
- In the Star Trek: Voyager uber "The Last Kiss Goodbye", Kathryn Janeway is a Private Detective in 1940s Hollywood. On hearing that the Hollywood studios are resisting the advent of television because it might steal their audience, she scoffs at the idea. She later discovers the Evil Plan of Visionary Villain Canon Bragger, a rogue producer for Paramount Pictures.
"Millions of sets in homes throughout the United States of America. And beamed to them all, weekly serials filled with gratuitous action scenes, plot cliches, lousy continuity, non-existent character development, and women with large breasts in highly revealing costumes!"
- The 1995 Sandra Bullock movie The Net was largely composed of hysterical hand-wringing over how easy computers and the Internet supposedly make it for one's identity to be "deleted" by "hackers". Apparently, it took place in a world where no-one carries a driver's license, and everyone's brain is online with the security of Wikipedia.
- On a similar vein, the movie Hackers has made the subject of at least one geek drinking game for many reasons, the demonization of the culture mentioned in the movie title included.
- Thanks to Live Free or Die Hard, we learn that using the internet, you can shut down the world! (Except, apparently, the BMW SOS call center.) In fact, there are viruses designed to damage power plants, waterworks and nuclear reactors. This may be a serious problem in the future.
- David Cronenberg has explored this concept in several of his films:
- Videodrome deconstructs this trope by revealing the literally evil new media of the title to be an Evil Plan orchestrated by the Moral Guardians. Videodrome torture porn induces nightmarish visions, lethal brain tumors, and occasional mutations in viewers: the shadowy figures behind the transmissions plan to use this as a means of culling "immoral" members of society.
- eXistenZ: There's a whole cult which regards eXistenZ, a new virtual reality gaming platform made from Organic Technology, as evil incarnate and its inventor Allegra Gellar as a demoness who must be killed to prevent the game's dissemination. After it's revealed that most of the movie was itself a virtual game called tranCendenZ, it turns out that the two protagonists were members of such a group, with their emotions seeping into the plotline of the game.
- Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story parodies the panic over rock and roll in the 1950s; at his high school talent show, Dewey and his band perform a sweet, gentle pop ballad called "Take My Hand" about two people holding hands. It immediately turns all the teenage girls present into sex-crazed nymphos, the teenage boys into violent thugs, and causes the older generation to picket Dewey's house with Torches and Pitchforks screaming about how he's going straight to hell:
Preacher: You think we don't know what you mean when you say 'Take My Hand'?Dewey: [Bewildered] Whaddaya mean? It's about holding hands.Preacher: You know who else had hands? The Devil! And he uses 'em for holdin'!
- The 2001 Japanese horror film Kairo (AKA Pulse) is built around the supposed nature of computers as alienating devices.
- The film adaptation of The Twonky predicts a future when televisions become able to walk, talk, and use Mind Control. Apparently, a Dystopia uses them to keep the population in line. (The movie was based on a story of the same name by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore, which was written before televisions became common; in the story, the twonky is disguised as a record player and there's no implication that there's anything wrong with record players as such.)
- In Japanese film Good Morning, the bratty kid is pestering his parents for a TV, but the adults in the neighborhood have a contemptuous attitude towards television. By 1959, TV was really catching on in Japan, and there as in the USA it was seen as a threat to motion pictures.
Mr. Hayashi: Someone said television would produce a hundred million idiots.
- The Bruce Willis film Surrogates has a generous offering of this, to say the least. Basically, the robot surrogates stand in for just about everything wrong about New Media and how's it preventing social interaction and true "humanity." The original comic book has this as well, particularly when the protagonist asks his wife to have dinner with him... and she immediately heads to her room to connect with her surrogate. When he tries to stop her and ask her to have dinner with him physically, she angrily tells him that he may be happy with his Real Life appearance, but she isn't. At the end of the story, after he lets all the surrogates be shut down, he comes home to find that she committed suicide.
- The Social Network subverts this and plays it straight. It's somewhat admiring of the technology we use today, and acknowledges the influence it has on society and why people would use it, but also notes how the people behind it usually don't have the best ideals...
- Contagion deliciously follows this trope. As a new global pandemic spreads, Jude Law's character is an intrepid freelance internet journalist with his own popular self-published news blog. He plays on the Real Life trope of the "lone, intrepid reporter breaking the story!" and firmly believes that Old Media Are evil. In his posts he vilifies the government agencies trying to deal with the outbreak, making it more difficult for them to enforce a quarantine. Stirring so much paranoia about government conspiracies and evil big pharmaceutical companies makes him into an internet celebrity, and soon this... self-employed outsider journalist with no credentials is a guest on every national TV news channel and is being put into live debates with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta. However, instead of posting a report that the government already has a vaccine and is withholding it or something... he tells his thousands of readers that the virus can be cured by taking an over-the-counter herbal remedy, Forsythia. As it turns out, he's bought up massive amounts of stock in national Forsythia manufacturers and is just trying to profit off the disaster. Adeptly manipulating the Old Media Are Evil trope, the more that national officials on TV state he's a crackpot, the more people think they're just trying to cover him up. When the CDC eventually manages to produce a vaccine, he starts saying its unsafe, trying to keep people buying Forsythia.
- The ABC Family film Cyberbully (2011) seems to behave this way toward social networking sites. While the main moral of the film is supposed to be about all the damage cyberbullying and internet harassment can cause, it really seems to be more like "social networking sites are evil".
- The horror film Antisocial takes this to fairly absurd levels as a Facebook-lookalike called "Red Room" — complete with a Mark Zuckerberg expy — is ultimately found to be responsible for a contagion spreading across the world that makes you violent, makes you bleed black blood from your ears and nose, and ultimately makes your brain explode out the back of your head. This is because the creators of Red Room encoded subliminal messages in the site that make you want to check it and post things there more often, resulting in your brain growing a tentacled mass that gives your brain a biological wi-fi signal that connects to all other Red Room users. If all that isn't quite anvilicious enough for you, it turns out at the end that the virus also brings its victims back from the dead as mindless shambling zombies.
- Tristan, the Spree Killer villain in Run Hide Fight, believes that, in the age of social media, everybody has proclaimed themselves judge and jury, which has left a job opening for executioner. He orders Lewis to livestream the massacre, and when he finds out that he has become the number one trending topic, he says "about time."
- In Scream 4, the killers' Motive Rant is a lengthy diatribe about how the internet has created a new breed of Famous for Being Famous celebrities, leading them to stage a massive killing spree, film it, and upload the video to the internet so that they can become famous. Jill specifically sought to emulate how her cousin Sidney had become a celebrity after being the survivor of multiple killing sprees in the prior films, and wanted her own 15 Minutes of Fame.
Ghostface: I mean, what am I supposed to do? Go to college? Grad school? Work? Look around. We all live in public now, we're all on the Internet. How do you think people become famous any more? You don't have to achieve anything. You just gotta have fucked-up shit happen to you.
- An Older Than Print example from The Divine Comedy; Francesca puts the blame for her damnation on a romantic poem about Sir Lancelot's affair that manipulated her and her brother-in-law to commit adultery. In context, Francesca is clearly just refusing to take responsibility for her own sins, but it remains unclear whether the author agrees that those new-fangled romance poems are sinful.
- In the second Jurassic Park novel The Lost World (1995), one of the characters comment on how the Internet is the doom of all civilization because it will "make everyone have the way of thinking about everything and force conformity." (!!) Then again, this statement was said by a character well-known for being an opinionated jerk who's right less often than he thinks he is. Then again, his point was more about evolution and extinction through behavioral change (of which the book discusses and meditates on at length), and how small groups in isolation evolve faster, and the internet essentially removes isolation from the vast majority of humanity.
- An older example: in Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the song sung by the Oompa-Loompas after Mike Teevee is shrunk denounces television in favor of reading. This is dated and absurd enough the 2005 movie version changes his obsession to video games (particularly violent first-person shooters), even though it makes his name and supposed smart-aleck-ness a little out of place. Alternatively, his real fault is being an obnoxious, cynical know-it-all rather than a media obsessive. Either way, they use a fairly close adaptation of Dahl's original song, meaning there is a "TV is evil" message in a 2005 film...
- The most important thing that we've ever learnedThe most important thing we've learned as far as children are concernedIs never, never let them near the television setOr better still, just don't install the idiotic thing at all
- Roald Dahl had a real love-hate relationship with TV. The villainous parents in Matilda spend all their time watching TV and hate books. And yet, it should be noted that Dahl hosted two TV shows — Way Out in 1961 and Tales of the Unexpected in the 1980s — and wrote for some anthology TV shows.
- The 2013 stage musical's equivalent song, "Vidiots", is a cheekier take on the trope. It's about the perils of using electronic media to babysit unruly kids (this Mike Teavee is an outright Enfant Terrible; his mom has tried everything else to keep him under control and has since given up). While it makes a valid point that a diet of only instant gratification media won't do much for a kid's mind and life in the long run, it also invokes more hysterical fears for laughs — "And then like some barbaric Huns/Our toddlers all are packing guns/Now children curse and smoke cigars/Our nurseries now have prison bars..." — and even pops in some Hypocritical Humor with the lines "But OMG will this destroy/The art of conversation?" The version of the song from the 2017 Broadway transfer trades some of the most humorous fear-mongering to double down on this trope.
- Much of Fahrenheit 451 was just Ray Bradbury ranting about how television (and radios with headphones?) would dumb Americans down, destroy literature, ruin marriages, cause violence, and ultimately kill everyone because nobody took war seriously. Nevermind that Bradbury (much like Roald Dahl) wrote many adaptations of his own stories for TV shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone...Not to mention a video game based on said book.
- Not to mention his own freaking 6 season series.
- American Gods: The God of the Internet and the Television Goddess Media, while no more evil than the old gods, were callow and vapid in comparison.
- One of Asimov's stories mentions "dreamies" — direct neural interface movies. A government official says pornographic dreamies are the one type of pornography which is the worst for the "moral fiber of the nation". (It should be mentioned the rest of the story averts this trope). In "The End of Eternity", dreamies are considered a technology which cannot be allowed to exist — just like nuclear wars (or replicators).
- Another Isaac Asimov short story, "The Feeling of Power," parodies this trope. It takes place In a World... where calculators are so widespread and have been used for so long, that people have actually forgotten how math works, including how to add single-digit integers. A technician manages to reverse-engineer the science by studying how computers do simple operations and the society gradually extrapolates how to do more complex equations. The people exposed to this "new" science (which they name Graphitics) worry that it could be dangerous.
- Similarly, he wrote a young adult short story about a world in which voice recognition was so accurate and omnipresent that nobody bothered to learn how to read or write. The protagonist creates a "secret code" for his clubhouse which is nothing more than written English.
- The Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel The Gallifrey Chronicles features a vignette set in The '80s, in which an alien intelligence introduces a device that's like a mobile phone, but much smaller, strangely streamlined, and with a screen, to a school playground. The children become fascinated, and then antisocial and withdrawn, as the alien radiation brainwashes them. They also start, somehow, talking in a way that skips vowels and uses numbers instead of homonymous words. Yes, the texting generation is an evil alien plot! (Author Lance Parkin may have had his tongue firmly in cheek.)
- Bad Dream by John Christopher has this for a technology that doesn't even exist yet — virtual reality! Some time is spent filibustering about how this panic is different from all the other ones because virtual reality is so much more "real" than television or video games.
- Ditto for Death Dream by Ben Bova, though it also acknowledges how much better Edutainment will get when virtual reality exists. Of note is that all virtual reality in-setting is interactive, like video games rather than movies, but you always win the games no matter how badly you play.
- The Unincorporated Man, which primarily challenges uncontrolled capitalism, takes a chapter to explain how the future world portrayed was nearly destroyed by virtual reality. It's a bit clever about the mechanism, though — the system portrayed perfectly conforms to the user's wishes, and perfectly simulates any desired experience, so it acts as a Lotus-Eater Machine.
- Referenced in P.N. Elrod's The Vampire Files, which are set in the 1930s. One editorial Jack reads during his nightly newspaper-binge addresses the then-hot controversy about whether having radios in the home is contributing to the downfall of civilized society.
- Don Quixote: Spain at The Cavalier Years had just discovered the printing press, and books were considered this trope. The Book Burning the Moral Guardians enact at first part chapter VI to cure Don Quixotes madness has not the darker connotations associated to the trope (and its full of TakeThats against badly written books).
"No doubt of that," replied Don Quixote; "but it often happens that those who have acquired and attained a well-deserved reputation by their writings, lose it entirely, or damage it in some degree, when they give them to the press.""The reason of that," said Samson, "is, that as printed works are examined leisurely, their faults are easily seen; and the greater the fame of the writer, the more closely are they scrutinised. Men famous for their genius, great poets, illustrious historians, are always, or most commonly, envied by those who take a particular delight and pleasure in criticising the writings of others, without having produced any of their own."
- At chapter IV of the Second Part, Don Quixote and Samsom Carrasco discuss Fallen Creator (In-Universe). Don Quixote notices reputed writers that lost prestige when they publish their works on the new printing presses. Carrasco explains that a printed book makes easier to explore for any kind of error, and Fan Dumb is always the envy of great creators, because they have never produced a book. (Incidentally, Cervantes get a lot of critiques because the first part of Don Quixote was plagued with SeriesContinuityErrors).
- Reaper Man, Soul Music and Moving Pictures featured Shopping Malls, Rock Music and Film as their respective Big Bads. The author later acknowledged that this came off as a little reactionary, let alone formulaic, leading to books where inventions like space travel, the newspaper, the clacks network, and Hex, the Unseen University's computer, while not entirely without their problems, push Discworld from pseudo-medievalism into pseudo-steampunk.
- Lampshaded in The Truth, which concerns the invention of the printing press and rise of the newspaper. The Patrician is wisely concerned that this is going to be yet another Sealed Evil in a Can, and is surprisingly pleased when it's not.
- Further discussed in later books, where it's noted that the same people who were hysterical about the Clacks (telegraph system) now use it to complain about the latest 'threat' to society.
- The whole arc with ForceFlow, Tash Arranda's Holonet-friend in Galaxy of Fear, appears to be teaching the Aesop that one should not put too much trust in Internet-friends you know nothing about. (He's the Big Bad.)
- Oryx and Crake basically has the Internet cause the complete destruction of human society.
- Vasili Golovachev's Catharsis series has a Story Arc where the Russian Orthodox Church concludes that the Internet has allowed the Devil to enter this world in a different way (i.e. he's not physically here, so he's not technically breaking the rules). To fight him, they have assembled the best special forces operatives and computer specialists, setting up their own operations to fight the Devil's cronies. Every morning, priests and monks perform exorcism rituals on their computers in order to clear them of the Devil's influence, making sure that the key prayers are spoken by a clergyman no lower than an archdeacon. Strangely, during the ritual, the machines seemingly restart for no apparent reason.
- The character Batavus Droogstoppel of Max Havelaar considers theatre to be evil due to the fact that everything played on it is a lie. Ernst Stern, the character that writes the book for him because even he considers his own style to be dry, he decides to add more romantic snippets about the heroes that saved poor people and tragedies in his book that should go about the coffee trade and how to help the future coffee men for the days to come. When Batavus Droogstoppel realizes this he is mad and goes as far as to show him that romanticism is futile by analysing a theater piece. It should be noted that the author considers Batavus Droogstoppel to be morally wrong.
- All the World's a Stage: Erast Fandorin thinks the "cinematograph" will render theatrical productions obsolete (the novel is set in 1911).
- Drea's grandma in Harmonic Feedback is terrified of the internet. She talks about a woman murdered by a man she met "on the computer" and is convinced hackers will break into Drea's mom's computer and steal her information. When Drea says that only happens to people who answer scam emails and download viruses, she becomes even more anxious, since she hasn't heard of viruses.
- I Think I Love You: Petra's mother believes that if you watch TV for long enough, television rays will destroy all your organs.
- This KTTV "Fox 11 News" "special report" purports to reveal the activities of a gang of "hackers on steroids" called Anonymous who destroy the lives of MySpace users, make death threats, and threaten to blow up stadiums. In fact, the "anonymous" in question is simply the default login to most Imageboards (the so-called "secret websites" and "underground hacker sites"). The "report" includes a random clip of a truck blowing up, apparently as a "demonstration" and a signal that You Can Panic Now. The "anonymous insider" is clearly in on the gag; note use of 4chan Catch Phrases like "Anonymous does not forgive". The mention of "like a real-life video game" earns extra New Media Are Evil points such are the things that happen when a local news station doesn't know what they're getting into.
- It's worth noting, though, that the "insider" was not in on the gag 4chan found out who he was and made his life a living hell. Read all about it on Encyclopedia Dramatica. The individual was a former /b/ member who, after his raid request on a girl who rejected him was turned down by Anonymous, continued complaining until a fellow Anon at his school revealed his identity. Hilarity did or did not ensue, depending on who you ask.
- And it's probably enough just to say this: Oh dear lord, the "Special Reports" on the night of Grand Theft Auto IV's release...
- The British Sun Newspaper (evidently worried that it was failing to meet its Pædo Hunt quota) ran a report on the satirical "Child Beauty Pageants" site that you can find on the in-game internet, which automatically redirects you to the FBI homepage and give you a four-star wanted rating. Apparently, including this was sick (and possibly wrong), and it would inevitably lead to people looking at these sites in real life.
- Played with in Being Human. Ivan mentions offhand that he can pass along messages to the other vampires in Bristol easily, because most of them follow his Twitter feed. A later episode has a vampire use YouTube to distribute a video of Tom and George transforming into werewolves. This backfires when the people who see the video chalk the whole thing up to special effects, and it completely fails to throw the human world into the panic he anticipated. On the other hand, that same vampire seems to consider new media as a potential tool humans have to stay connected and win against any vampire attacks ("If you try to attack them, they'll have an army together within minutes. Over Twitter.") and his desire to take advantage of it is just his view that it's a powerful tool for anyone.
- Black Mirror is pretty much New Media Are Evil: The Mini Series. At least in the earlier seasons, the later seasons tend more towards Science Is Bad.
- "Fifteen Million Merits" depicts a dystopian future where people are continually bombarded with advertisements while doing pointless work to buy pointless stuff, with an ersatz The X Factor and a chance at stardom being the only way out for many people.
- "The Waldo Moment" shows how a crude cartoon character runs for a by-election in the UK and rides to success on a wave of social media hype and cynical populism. Things go From Bad to Worse.
- "Nosedive" depicts a Crapsaccharine World where people rate each other on a Facebook-style app. Your rating defines everything about your life from where you can live or work to your priority for hospital treatment, and people have become narcissistic and status-obsessed as a result.
- Obligatory Buffy the Vampire Slayer example from the first season with "I Robot, You Jane", where the boy Willow meets over the internet turns out to be the demon Moloch the Corruptor. Although to give it its due, the web becomes evil because a demon imprisoned in a book during the medieval ages was inadvertently released onto it, and several techno-savvy magic users were used to reseal it.
- Internet dating was a major part of the story. It was 1997! Could almost file this one under Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
- Castle has an episode where a killer believes and acts out on this. He was cyberbullied in high school before any precedents were set, meaning the kids who he believes ruined his life weren't charged. Therefore, he targets "Snapomatic" (basically Instagram, with a bit of Snapchat thrown in for flavor) celebrities, even using apartment-sharing programs and 3D printers. His ultimate plan involves capturing the creators of Snapomatic and subjecting them to torture in the high school where he was bullied, all under a live feed on Snapomatic where users can vote for which one survives to prove how corrupt New Media are making America. He is called out on this by the main characters, who maintain a more balanced view. The very minor subplot of the episode is Castle filming a "web-mercial" for his latest book because of the positive power he believes the internet has.
- Criminal Minds devoted an entire episode to a killer who targeted victims based on their Twitter feeds, and portrayed the Twitter users as drug addicts. (The episode also took time out of its schedule to blast the concept of "selfies".)
- CSI: Miami had an episode ("Cyber-lebrity") where a girl's entire life seems ruined because of a photo (not even showing nudity) of her posted on the Internet. To the point where people are trying to kill her. Then they go after Horatio, uncovering confidential information within minutes because It's a Small Net After All. And Flashmobs show up with a speed and fanatical interest over said girl that, in real life, wouldn't happen if Britney Spears was french kissing Lindsay Lohan buck naked on top of a circus trapeze in the middle of Times Square with dancing leprechauns doing the macarena in time to music supplied to the Rolling Stones. At noon on a weekday.
- There's also the episode where a video game company secretly provided assault rifles to college students so they could recreate not-GTA in real life to drum up publicity for the game. The harshest of the players is the Gamer Chick who's participating because it's literally the only way to get boys to pay attention to her in this age of video games.
- CSI: NY:
- An episode where Reed, a blogger, tried to get Mac to give information on the Taxicab Killer. Mac refuses, so Reed proceeds to make something up. This whips up hysteria enough that three cabbies murder some random cabbie that they suspect to be the killer, except he was a cop. Considering that bloggers like Charles Johnson made their bones exposing malfeasance in old media, this is Anvilicious with a corrupt anvil. And just to drive it home even further, he's the next victim, or is he? It should be noted that Reed's original role in the series was as Mac's long-lost stepson, so there's definitely other tropes at play here. Still, there's probably a bit of new media hatin' in the mix.
- It also features a subversion: In "Down the Rabbit Hole", the team discovers that a Psycho for Hire is using Second Life to find info on her targets. She doesn't conform to the "Internet Stalker" archetype at all, and it's made quite clear she doesn't care for the game as anything more than a weapon (as revealed in a sequence where she uses a virus to crash her own server). Plus, it's revealed that Ross is an avid player.
- Another subversion in a more recent episode — a Chatroulette-like program alerts the CSIs to a murder before it's discovered (allowing them to be assured that they'll get the best possible evidence); Mac and Jo both experiment with the program and find it to be interesting, rather than harmful. Jo even uses it to show New York to a serviceman in Afghanistan.
- Later still, being signed up to a Facebook Bland-Name Product as part of a joke is what puts Mac back in touch with an old friend, who ends up being his Love Interest (and occasional Damsel in Distress) for the remainder of the series. Since the episode's plot involved a fake profile being used by woman to trick the victim (her soon-to-be-ex-husband) into having an "affair" (to use against him in the divorce), which indirectly lead to the murder (the victim saw through it, but jokingly said he'd have her killed so she took opportunity to murder him during the robbery at the start of the episode, thinking she could frame the robbers - unfortunately it was staged by their daughter, who was sick of both of their crap) this was probably an attempt to avoid this trope.
- Elsewhere in the CSI Verse, CSI: Cyber lives and breathes this trope. The premise is that crooks and psychos are constantly misusing the internet and online technology to endanger innocent people, either for profit or For the Evulz; the series plays this for Paranoia Fuel, as this article discusses. (It can happen to you.)
- CSI: Cyber is basically New Media Is Evil: The Series. It's not content to say because Everything Is Online baby monitors can be hacked, it goes to the extreme of saying "The Internet is full of child rapists and baby killers, those who cause untold death to get off on it and impress those they don't even know, their efforts to annihilate the world is imminent and inevitable, be alarmed, be afraid, code black, code black." Or short version, making the Anonymous Troll an all-powerful hacker terrorist.
- The infamous "Bloggers" sketch on The Daily Show, in which Stephen Colbert reveals increasingly sordid details about his own life in order to keep attack bloggers from getting the scoop. For a start, his real name is Ted Hitler, (Direct Grandson, but presumably no relation to Edward Hitler), he smuggled drugs in college and he drunkenly killed and ate a panda...
"In my own defense, Jon, it was dark, I was drunk, and it was delicious."
- Doctor Who:
- "Resolution" has a Cutaway Gag where, after the villain brings down the communications of the entire UK, having commandeered the bandwidth for its own purposes, a mother and her two sons are shown as utterly horrified that the Internet is down on New Year's Day, meaning they might have to actually talk to each other.
- "Spyfall": During his New Era Speech, Corrupt Corporate Executive and tech mogul Daniel Barton makes it clear that his Evil Plan is only possible because of how willing people are to share every facet of their lives online, where corporations like his can suck up their data.
- Engrenages had a murder-of-the-week in its second season in which a stereotypical alienated teen boy murdered his slightly older online girlfriend after they met face to face and she rejected him for being too young, then killed himself. However, the general tone of the ep didn't condemn the internet so much as his parents for not noticing how screwed-up he was.
- Played for laughs on an episode of The George Lopez Show. Max befriends a girl his age online. George is convinced that she must really be a sexual predator and takes over communicating with her in an attempt to lure her out. Cut to the girl's house, where her father and uncle are also convinced that her new friend is a predator and are trying to lure him out. (Both sides even comment that "there's no way a real kid would type like that" to their children). Once the adults meet up and realize that there's no actual pervert involved, they agree to let the kids resume their friendship and even help arrange a supervised real-life meeting between them.
- Henry Danger had a three-part special (beginning with "A New Danger") where the villain Rick Twittler believes this about social media and feels guilt that he helped to make it such as he created a social media company. Due to this, his plan was to shut the internet down forever.
- In the BBC reality show I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse, the virus that created the zombies came from an 'untested new Wi-Fi grid' that mutated some of the British public and was transmitted through their smartphones.
- Parodied in The IT Crowd, where an incredibly over-the-top spoof of the "you wouldn't steal a blank" anti-piracy PSA is shown when the characters are sitting down to watch a film.
- Even better, it was a pirated film.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- One episode has a killer who stalked and become obsessed with his victim on an obvious Second Life rip-off. The crucial clue to finding his kidnapping victim was to find the cabin he built for her in-game, in a location identical to the real-world cabin he built to keep his targets in. That's right, the guy modeled a lake and the attending geography so carefully, and placed his model cabin (also scrupulously accurate to the real-world version) exactly where it was in real life, and on top of that, the Second Life rip-off had such a perfect lighting engine that the detectives found the cabin by dawning the virtual sun and then seeing how the shadows fell and oh my God.
- In another episode, a kid claimed to have run over and then murdered a woman in a red dress because she looked like a prostitute out of a suspiciously GTA-esque video game, to the point where he was loudly describing the murder on the witness stand while his thumbs were furiously moving around in his lap and supposed mimicking the buttons one would push in the game. Inverted, because the A.D.A. saw right through his bullshit.
- There's also an episode where a teenager has been murdered. As they investigate her life, they discover that she had sex with men for clothes (and later for money.) They then discover her profile on a website people go on to find casual sex partners (not for pay) and one of the detectives states that it's a "small step" between having casual sex with people you met through the internet and becoming a $500 a night underaged call girl.
- "Chat Room" also demonizes the internet, with parts of the episode dedicated to Stabler's unease about the world wide web, equating the family's computer with a window for perverts to potentially sneak in through to take advantage of his children.
- In the episode "Web", a teenager is making child pornography starring himself and putting it up on the internet, and making huge quantities of money from it. The teenager was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, but several lines in the episode imply that this kind of thing happens all the time and your children may start doing it at any moment (Stabler: "Used to be kids were safe when they were at home.") You got to admit that they do think that teenagers are intelligent people. So intelligent that they would know how to make their own website and learn the 4 main web-scripting languages in a very short time.
- Subverted to an extent, however, in an episode where a mentally-challenged teenager is suspected of killing one of his foster sisters as a result of his fascination with a fantasy role-play computer game, with some elements of the crime scene reflecting his interest in the game. The detectives rule him out, however, because he identified with the hero character, not any of the villains; he was acting out his interest in the game to try and protect her, not to harm her.
- Played painfully straight in "Intimidation Game", another "video games are evil" episode that equates all gamers with delusional terrorists and rapists.
- Triple subverted on an episode of the Canadian sitcom Life with Derek. In one episode, the main character sees her brothers playing a suspiciously Tomb Raider-esque video game, and is offended by the sexy and degrading female protagonist... until she actually sits down and plays the game, and realizes that the main character is actually strong and competent and empowering. ...Then her brothers beat it, and she realizes that the "prize" for doing well is seeing the main character topless. A standard Double Subversion? Well, then she goes and writes an essay for her class about how female video game characters are cool, so long as designers can dial back the gratuitous Fanservice. (Phew!)
- Given that controversy surrounding Fanservice among real-life gamers, and the genuine conflict some Gamer Chicks feel between "this character is objectified and I should not like her" versus "I find playing as her to be empowering," it makes one suspect that there's an actual gamer or two on the writing staff.
- Not necessarily evil, but Mick and Josef in Moonlight bemoan the modern Internet-based catalogs for High Class Call Girls. They preferred the "good old days" of driving by girls standing on street corners or old-school brothels. For some reason, they assume that these things don't exist. They do, they're just not "high class". Then again, we're never shown them (even in flashbacks) visiting prostitutes, so this is likely more of a Nostalgia Filter.
- NCIS occasionally subverts this with Timothy "Elf Lord" McGee, who's up on video game culture and plays an MMORPG. Although he is mocked for this, it has come in useful more than once. At one point (when his "Elf Lord" status is first revealed), the murder mystery revolved around an MMO (thus adding a straight example to the subversion), and in another case, he was able to identify the model of the suspect's car, based off of a kid telling him it was a Kuruma (the GTA equivalent). A recent episode involves a narcissistic killer with a theatrical bent communicating through a thinly veiled YouTube Fictional Counterpart — but when the fake YouTube is mentioned, all the characters (except, naturally, Gibbs) are familiar with it and consider it more or less harmless. "lonelygirl15?" "Evolution of Dance?" "Numa Numa kid?" Before we even get to see the cryptic killer video, there's a good bit where it's just Abby dancing along with Dragostea Din Tei...
- In Once Upon a Time, ten-year-old Henry is the only one in the cursed town of Storybrooke who put together who was who under the Laser-Guided Amnesia and used a book of fairy tales to help unravel the mess. His adopted mother (the Evil Queen) wanted him to put down the fairy tales so she could go back to bullying the townsfolk without distraction. So, she burns down the playground and "compensates" the boy with a video game system (because, of course, playing those games will make sure he never thinks about storybooks or fairy tales...) Would have probably worked better if the kid's game of choice didn't turn out to be Space Paranoids.
- The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Game" features an alien who tries to control the crew of the Enterprise by giving them video games that stimulate the pleasure center in the player's brain. Coupled with some subliminal conditioning, the crew become so addicted to the games that they obey their "master"'s every command.
- Touched by an Angel tackled the Internet in "Pandora's Box", but to its credit subverted the trope. After the family-of-the-week's daughter was rescued from an online predator, Monica explained that the Internet isn't inherently bad and can (and should) be used for good instead of evil.
- Played straight in the episode "Virtual Reality" where video games are apparently tools of Satan that makes children do horrible things.
- The Italian crime series Turbo (a ripoff of Commissar Rex, basically) had an infamous episode where a psychically disturbed man was accused of a murder, while the real culprits were some boys addicted to a "forbidden game" which had Doom 's cover, Quake II footage with a red filter, and was named DUUM II (spelled exactly this way). Complete with: a psychotherapist speaking about the connection between video games and violence from adolescents, the boys yelling "Blood, blood..." "I must kill them at any cost!" while playing, and one of them attacking the main character with an axe, screaming "Final Fiiight!"
- The song "Tu es nicht" by the German band "Die Ärzte" parodies this.
- "Tele-Vee-Shun" by Stan Freberg, a calypso complaint about the power of the small screen.
- Miranda Lambert's "Automatic" has traces of this:
Hey, whatever happened to
Waiting your turn, doing it all by hand
'Cause when everything is handed to you
It's only worth as much as the time put in
It all just seemed so good the way we had it
Back before everything became automatic
- Alan Jackson's "I Still Like Bologna" averts this. Throughout the song, he points out that he has no problem with technological advancement (specifically citing the joys of the Internet, cell phones, plasma TV, and so on), but says that there are still certain things that no amount of technology will replace:
Well, I guess what I've been trying to say
This digital world is okay
It makes life better in a lot of ways
But it can't make the smell of spring
Or sunshine or lots of little things
We take for granted every day
Oh, and I still like bologna on white bread now and then
And the sound of a whippoorwill down a country road
The grass between my toes, that old sunset sinking low
And a good woman's love to hold me close
- Arcade Fire does touch on this trope a few times, especially throughout their album "Reflektor" and in the song "Deep Blue", with the ending making this plea to the audience:
Hey, put the cell phone down for a while,
Hey, put the laptop down for a while
- Moby and the Void Pacific Choir made a song that may as well be the theme song of this entire trope, "Are You Lost in the World Like Me?", which ironically was liked on Buzzfeed and YouTube quite a lot.
- Nightwish: "Noise", the first single from 2020's Human. :II: Nature, is a fairly scathing critique of social media and cell phone addiction.
- Delain's song "Generation Me" takes Twitter and Instagram to task.
- Played with in a promotional comic for Bally's Space Invaders pinball machine. In the story, people who play the Space Invaders video game become enraptured by it to the point of ignoring everything else around them. On the other hand, the long lines of people who want to play the mesmerizing new Space Invaders pinball is treated as a curiosity.
- In Crüe Ball, this is the initial excuse given by Craig for his crusade against Heavy Metal music.
- Not exactly "fictional" examples but Chris Jericho and Edge have both rallied against chat rooms. Jericho's was over a match with Rob Van Dam that got surprisingly negative reviews(even though most of the commentators actually said it was good, making it more like Cheap Heat), while Edge lashed out in a promo about vilification him and Lita got sleeping behind his wife and Matt Hardy.
- During the 2016 Road To Best In The World, Silas Young campaigned against video games, which he claimed were killing wrestling.
- City of Villains parodies this with the Television contact, where the player (as a supervillain) is influenced into destroying books and fighting another contact who happens to be a sentient Radio, entirely so that everyone will have to Watch More Television.
- Of course, rather earlier, you can get missions from the Radio contact where you go around blasting TV stations, so really it's got the whole spectrum covered.
- This seems to be a pretty big plot point in Mother 3, as it concerns an evil dictatorship slowly transforming a quiet rural culture into a full-fledged technological cityscape. Most blatant are the "Happy Boxes", which look like television sets or computer monitors, and anyone that doesn't own one has their house struck by lightning multiple times. Naturally, being the Only Sane Man in this situation, Lucas is one of the few that doesn't have one. Itoi himself in this interview states that the Happy Boxes don't represent TVs or computers or anything. They're just abstract things. This happened before in the form of Midnight Radio so that whenever it happens it's whatever the New Media at the time is.
- One of the radio stations in Grand Theft Auto III has a person call in to say how evil telephones are, and is promptly asked about it by the host of the radio show. "Citizens Raging Against Phones" — she's calling from a payphone and concedes that it's been hard to organize meetings.
- In III's chronological prequel, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, another organization, Citizens United Negating Technology For Life And Peoples' Safety, has radio advertisements talking about the dangers of children going on the internet. (see page quote)
- In Knights of the Old Republic, the Sand People of Tatooine do not keep written records for the same reasons Socrates mentioned — to write it down cheapens it and makes it something one can remove from the tribe. Of course, another reason for it could be that their ancient ancestors revolted against the Rakata, and slaves are often prevented from literacy. Having no written language prevents having any knowledge turned against them. They also have a Berserk Button for any outsider attempting to interpret the words differently than them, as they feel it can potentially twist the story for future generations. This is carried further elsewhere in the expanded universe: Sand People maintain all of their stories through a master-and-apprentice system of storytellers. If the apprentice ever mispronounces a word or makes a mistake while retelling a story, the master kills him or her on the spot. Once an apprentice can recite all of the tribe's stories word-perfect from memory, they become the new storyteller and the old one walks off to die. So theoretically they don't need new media, but in KOTOR HK-47 remarks that errors are likely to have crept in over time despite this, and that in any case the original legends are based on primitive peoples attempting to explain real-world events they could barely comprehend by mythologizing them, so even if they've been remembered completely accurately from the original source, they're still not fully accurate history. (Don't suggest this to the storyteller or the entire tribe will try to kill you.)
- In Agent USA, an evil television set known as the Fuzz Bomb is traveling around the country turning the citizens into static zombies.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV, the angels consider any book that tells a story this. This is not really new media. The angels cast a portion of humanity they considered "worthy" out of modern-day Tokyo and made them think they were living in a medieval type of society.
- Phantasy Star Online 2 has ESC-A, a shiny new operating system that runs on the Ethernet, a futuristic version of the Internet and is mysteriously connected to the Phantoms, a destructive threat plaguing planet Earth.
- The legend of Polybius may have been, at least partially, based off of the actual moral panic surrounding arcades that occurred during The '80s. Despite the many versions of the story passed around (being used as part of an MKULTRA-esque experiment, causing amnesia and suicide, making players addicted, etc.), the common theme is essentially that it was the epitome of everything parents and anti-video game activists of the time were afraid of.
- Chainsawsuit headlines: "Guitar Hero" implicated in child death last week. Later sums up the whole dream in 3 panels. Also, "laws and order: cybertime".
- Head Trip warns about the dangers of games. Like eating only cherries and fearing the ghosts after Pac-Man. Error: Jack Thompson not found.
Mal: Maybe I'll roll him over with a giant ball so he can blame cracked-out Japanese games for his death. I'm sure it's the way he wants to go.
- Parodied in this Penny Arcade strip, reporting on the "Naughty Nobs" of the Etch-a-Sketch.
- Parodied at one point in PS238, when a Super Villain laments that his grandson would rather stay home and play Grand Theft Auto instead of going outside and committing real crimes.
- Called out by xkcd in "Isolation", pointing out that people have been saying that media isolates people from the world since the 1840s if not earlier.
Megan: Dude. it's been two centuries. Take a hint.
- This Square Root of Minus Garfield comic has Garfield angst over the demise of old technology like VHS tapes and CRTs and their subsequent replacement by DVDs and HDTVs. (The author's note goes even further.)
- ClickHole parodies Video Game related moral panics with the steadily more and more absurd The Ability To Play As Bowser Has Made Our Society More Evil.
- The Venezuelan News Parody El Chigüire Bipolar mocked the government's above-mentioned stance against war video-games (and toys) with some articles: War video-games and toys block Caracas' streets, Armed Forces deploy war operation to destroy war toys and Chávez: "Children should abandon violent video games and go out to the streets".
- There is a well known Russian text called The letter of Father Seraphimius, where the titular priest tries to understand modern technology used by his men (written in an exaggeratedly archaic language analogous to Flowery Elizabethan English). It ends with him locking away the main computer user, and throwing the electronics into the river.
- Having to be fully aware of the irony, Doug Walker had a rant in one of his The Legend of Korra vlogs about how the internet and iPhones make us scared to be alone.
- To Boldly Flee viciously parodies this trope for all it's worth. A huge subplot is the impending government bill SUCKA, which is a satirizing of the SOPA bill. The government official trying to push it through and deliberately shut down internet reviews is named Lame R. Prick (the person who sponsored SOPA was named Lamar Smith), and he is ridiculously clueless as to how the internet and computers actually work (he tries to turn one on by smacking the monitor, and tells his assistant at one point "I only write Internet policy, I don't understand how it works!"). In the commentaries, the reviewers had a good bit to say about their time fighting against SOPA, and their opinions on whatever is coming next.
- Another Disney series, American Dragon: Jake Long did an episode which rips into blogging: when Jake goes online and vents about his annoying teacher, every magical creature in the city immediately assume he's putting out a public contract on the man's life, and the assassination attempts commence. This may be an example of Be Careful What You Wish For.
- In an episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, Uncle, who is a real wizard and not technology-savvy, embraces the internet for the first time. After everything on the screen disappears, he concludes that the internet is evil and a creation of demons, and proceeds to literally "crash" Jade's laptop.
- He later cast an entire exorcism spell after his fax machine began printing for the first time. In his defense, the first thing it printed was a symbol for a medieval cult that used evil magic.
- King of the Hill episode "Lost in MySpace" double-subverts this. One of Hank's co-workers gets so into MySpace that her performance at Strickland Propane suffers, which brings her into conflict with the hard-working Hank. She sets a Flash Mob after Hank and they decide to beat him up, except that they attacked Buck Strickland instead, which gets her fired. At the end of the episode, Hank tracks the woman down (using MySpace) to talk things out and she explains that she was just looking for a way to make work more fun; Hank convinces Buck to re-hire her as Strickland's social media manager and everyone's happy. Thus the episode's "villain" isn't social media itself but the unhealthy obsession with it, leading to a standard "All things in moderation" Aesop.
- This is played with when Hank expresses disappointment about how all of the violent video games Bobby plays don't affect him, wondering "What's the point?"
- Averted in an episode of Muppet Babies. The babies all play video games, but Piggy and Gonzo keep hogging the system in a fierce rivalry over The Tale of Imelda. In addition to featuring some surprisingly obscure gaming references, the Aesop of the episode is about sharing and good sportsmanship, as opposed to there being anything wrong with the games themselves.
- Exaggerated example in Doug, where the title character's obsession with a videogame console quickly begins wrecking his grades and personal life. Instead of turning this into a reasonable lesson on setting priorities and self-regulating one's behavior, Doug is more or less only able to function normally after he ditches the console.
- Exaggerated by Tiny Toon Adventures, which had several Take That! jabs at videogames as being a mindless, corrupting waste of timenote , taking its criticism of them into outright vitriol on occasion. Of course the show had plenty of games based on it. Even better, Steven Spielberg is a gamer himself. He was reported to have visited Sega's headquarters on occasions and played their games before anyone else, and eventually went on to develop the game series Boom Blox.
- On Family Guy, Peter's ignorance was initially attributed to watching too much television in the first season episode "I Never Met the Dead Man," though Depending on the Writer, it has also been attributed to alcohol abuse and mild mental retardation.
- Played with on the Rick and Morty holiday episode "Anatomy Park", where Jerry takes away the family's phones for a day of socializing with their family. At the end of the episode, everyone enjoyed themselves even without their devices, deciding to take a break and check on them once more. This happens to be when Rick steps in (who, mind you, had been absent for most of the episode) and chastises the family for being on their phones.