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The Negative effects of Mass Media Featured

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The Negative Effects Of Mass Media


Introduction

The influence of mass media has changed over time due to the increased coverage. The coverage can be attributed the growth of technology. The influence of the mass media has also grown with the growth of the mass media. Cultural values, family systems and beliefs of many groups of people in the community have also changed with time. Nowadays there are more one parent families which mean that the one parent has to work more hours in order to be able to sustain the needs of the family. Cultural values and beliefs of many families have also changed as more and more people from different racial, ethnic and religious beliefs intermarry. The media has more leeway to influence the attitudes, beliefs, morale and views of people in the society.


The issue of media influence on the society is contentious as different groups give supporting statements to why they feel and support their views of the influences of media in the society (Harris, 2009).


Effects of the Media

The media has been claimed as having a negative influence in the society by causing people to act violently as what they observe in the media. Proponents of this view argue that incidents like copy cat killings can be attributed to all the negative details that are given out in the media. Opponents of this view however argue that people who carry out such copy cat killings are usually mentally unstable and have criminal influences in their lives.The mass media has also been blamed for poor dressing and lifestyle behaviors that people especially the young engage in, especially after viewing news of some celebrities in the mass media. The media portrays some celebrities as living their lives carelessly; engaging in drugs and this impresses some young impressionable individuals to want to emulate such individuals. The result is an erosion of culture and morals in the society.


The mass media has also been portrayed as being negative due to the programs that they air which are aimed at getting people hooked onto their screens in television programmes. The result of such programmes is that people become lazy and all that they do is watch televisions. People do not look for work, study for exams or engage in constructive activities that can lead to a more productive life for them.The mass media has also led to the availability of a lot of pornographic content on the internet. People can now easily access pornography from the comfort of their homes by just clicking a few buttons in the society (Kachur, et al, 1999).


This has contributed to the decay of morals in the society and some proponents of this view say that it has also led to the growth of sexual offenses in the world.The mass media has led to the development of such sites as face book, my space, twitter and many other sites where people can interact. This sites have however been attributed to lowered productivity in workplaces and reduced concentrations in most learning institutions.Most business organizations have had to limit internet access to their employees because they do not want the employees engaging in idle activities when they could be doing productive things that contribute to adding value to the firm.


Many youngsters have also become addicted to the social sites especially face book and they are constantly thinking about what they will update or the pictures that they will update so that they can be viewed as being cooler than or as cool as their friends. This in turn means that students do not pay as much attention as they should on their education which is what they should be concentrating on in order to better their lives and those of older generations to come. The media has however been cited as having a positive effect on education of people through programs like those aired on the National Geographic channel. There are some young people who are also positively influenced by the media to emulate positive role models that they view on television programs, the news or on the internet by searching their profiles.

The media has been viewed as having a negative influence on young people through advertisements. Food advertisements have been seen to target young children to eat junk food and the result is that the children become obese. Since most parents do not encourage their children to engage in physical activity, the result is that the children become obese after eating the easily available foods advertised in the media. The media then turns around, and tells the same young children that society only approves of people who are thin (Rutten, 2011).


The mass media does this through portraying images of thin people as being acceptable and favored in the society. Some of the young children bow to the pressure and try strict unhealthy dieting, binge eating followed by forced purging of the food contents and many other unhealthy processes, all in an attempt to become thin and get accepted into the society.The media has a lot of power and influence when it comes to shaping the public opinion. This has been evident like in the case whereby Osama was portrayed as being one of the leaders of Al-Qaeda and people all over the world began to pressure to politicians and the congress to wage war on Osama and all Al-Qaeda supporters. The mass media has so much power and they have the opportunity to influence the public to even do negative things to innocent people who might no deserve such negativity.


From another perspective, the media has been seen as being informative to people and influencing them to make good decisions that are of benefit to many individuals like the presenting of information to the authorities on information about wanted criminals and suspected terrorists. A case where mass media information has been presented to the public has been for reformed law offenders (Harris, 2009).Information about past sex offenders has been put on some sites for everyone to see and such people might be victimized when they move into some neighborhoods because people view them as still being sex offenders and posing a risk to them and to their families (Kunanis, 2003).


The media’s negative influence has been observed in the games that young children are interested in nowadays. The children become so obsessed with the things that they watch in the television that they want to act in a similar manner (bbcnews.co.uk)Such influence was observed when two teenagers who were attendants of Columbine High School, Littleton Colorado killed thirteen of their fellow students and then took their own lives. The two teenagers had semiautomatic weapons, and they had explosives with them. A similar incident took place in Jonesboro, Arkansas in the year 1998, when four students and a teacher were killed fifteen students wounded by two middle school students. Critics of the effects of the media argue that the mass media with its films and video games which young people have access to, promotes violence (bbcnews.co.uk)


The media also uses their power of influence to sway people to the direction that they want them to take. Politicians use the media to advertise their manifestos and win voters from their opponents. The more money that a politician has, the more the likelihood that he or she is likely to win because of the influence that they will impose on people through the media (Kundanis, 2003).The disadvantage is that not all the politicians that might have access to the money to advertise might actually be good politicians that would make a positive influence in people’s lives. Opponents of this view argue that the mass media provides people especially young adults with an outlet for their anger.


Individuals who support the media as having positive effects in the society, claim that the media gives publicity that need assistance especially in times of catastrophe which mobilizes people in the society to act and assist those that are in need. This has been in the case in situations like Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, earthquake in Indonesia, the drought in East Africa and so many others. The publicizing of such events in the media has mobilized many individuals’ especially influential people to make contributions to alleviate the effects of the calamities.


Conclusion

As much as there is a lot of exposure to the media, people should look for more engaging ways of spending their time, other than focusing too much on the media. It is up to people to make individual choices to use their time for productive activities and not be negatively influenced by the media. The government should invest in public education so that as many people can get higher learning which would expose them to the need to form their own free independent opinion free of media influence whether positive or negative.


References

BBC News. (10-10-2007). United States’ School Shootings.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4371403.stm

BBC News. (7-7-2006). Columbine Killers’ Words Released.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5158828.stm

Harris, R.J. (2009). A Cognitive Psychology of Mass Communication. 5th edition. New York. Routeledge.

Kachur, S.P., Stennies, G.M., Powell, K.E., Modzeleski. W., Stephens, R., Murphy, R., (1996). School Associated Violent Deaths in the United States. 275:1729-1733.

Kundanis, R.M. (2003). Chidren, Teens, Families & the Mass Media: The Millennial Generation. New Jersey. Lawrence Erlbaum & associates.

Rutten, T. (20-5-2011). ‘For some Jackson Verdict is already in’. Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times.


Last modified on Wednesday, 06 June 2012 06:57
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