On October 17, the Borivli police arrested a 15-year-old boy for allegedly kidnapping and killing his eight-year-old cousin for a Rs1-lakh ransom. The boy told police he had got the idea after watching episodes of a popular crime series.
In September 2011, a 16-year-old boy and his friend murdered and robbed his grandmother as they wanted money to buy bikes and live luxuriously.
The boys had used surgical gloves after watching how it was done on a popular television crime show.
There has been a recent trend where crime based television shows have seen major success. This, psychiatrists and experts believe, may not be the best thing as television and especially daily TV serials can leave an impression on youngsters.
Dr Shubhangi Parker, head of psychiatry at KEM hospital said on several occasions, when youngsters watch crime shows they are attracted by the thrill factor. “One has to remember that youngsters do not have adult wisdom. They would not think about consequences.”
When told that some serials show criminals arrested, Parker said, “Youngsters may not get the whole picture and the message being portrayed.”
Sociologist Nandini Sardesai said as TV serials have a greater audience that films, they have a bigger impact. “When it comes to films, you can see it first and raise objections with the censor board after which the movie is released. There is no such mechanism for TV.”
Dr Nilesh Shah, head of psychiatry, Sion hospital, said the programme content should not impact a normal individual in a big way. “Mostly people who have a conduct disorder or an anti-social personality are impacted by such content,” he said.
Dr Vijay Raghavan, associate professor with the Centre for Criminology, said, “Watching such content alone cannot be a trigger to commit a crime. Such content could have an additive or influencing role.”
Ajit Thakur, general manager of Life OK channel, that that airs Savdhan India – India Fights Back, that shows real life crime cases, said, “In our show, we only condemn crime and the concept of the show is that India fights back. We never leave a case where cases are unsolved. We do not encourage people to take inspiration.”