INFLUENCE OF MASS MEDIA ON THE YOUNGER GENERATION
“As the future of Bhutan lies in the hands of our people, it is our responsibility to make sure that the future well-being of our country is secure in the hands of the Bhutanese people and that [they] can successfully shoulder this sacred responsibility with complete loyalty and dedication.” His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuk . Thus youth are considered to be the core of our nation.
The media exerts an enormous, almost a normative influence, over the lives of men,women, adolescents and children. It influences, particularly among teenagers, the ways in which individuals and groups dress, talk, behave, and think. The media, in the forms of movies, television, radio, and print as well as the new electronic communications media of the Internet, helps to connect individuals to one another and to the world. Invariably, this powerful influence shapes the ways in which viewers or participants perceive the world and their own place within that world. The mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are used for mass communication, and to the organizations which control these technologies. Since the 1950s,in the countries that have reached a high level of industrialization, the mass media consisting of cinema, radio and TV has a key role in political power.
The mass media plays a significant role in shaping public perceptions on a variety of important issues, both through the Information that is dispensed through it and through the interpretations it places upon this Information. It also plays an important role in shaping modern culture, by selecting and Portraying a particular set of beliefs, values, and traditions (an entire way of life), as reality. That is, by portraying a certain interpretation of reality, it shapes reality to be more in line with that interpretation. The mass media consists of the internet, television, newspapers and Radio. The Internet is significantly more influential than any other media. It is nearly twice as Influential as TV and eight times more influential than traditional print media.
The internet is absolutely the winner when we talk about the influence of media on teenagers. The other media like TV and newspapers are less but also present in teenagers’ proportion of daily activities. During this period of growing up, they try to talk, dress and behave like popular TV and music stars. They choose which group of people to belong to, and friends to hang out with. If you want to keep in step with modern technology, it is almost impossible to resist the need to join Facebook, Twitter or MySpace… Teenagers ignore their studying and sport activities in exchange for sitting in front of their computers. Their body does not develop and grow properly and they often have health problems.
Another negative influence on teenagers that has grown over the last years are anorexia and Obesity. There are millions of adolescents fighting obesity, but at the same time they are exposed to thousands of advertisements of junk food, while the ideal image of a successful person is told to be thin and wealthy. Moreover, more women are obsessive with losing weight even when they are not obese. There are many thin women that want to look like the super models and thin celebrities so they engage in eating disorders which leads to severe health issues and even The answer to my question about teenagers’ becoming lazy, aggressive, too skiny or obese because of the mass media was not surprising – more than 85 percent declared that teens can fall under such an influence of the media. Apart from that, about half of respondents said the mass media does not influence their lifestyle in the sense of changing their eating habits and perception of the ideal body image. However, 80 % of the interviewed underscored the role of the media in changing habits in nutrition and their personal style, as well as the perfect body look.
Matthew Lissak, M.D, an eating disorder specialist and professional in psychiatry and psychotherapy states, “There is a huge increase in obsessive weight training, use of dietary supplements for weight loss and steroids. Youth represents a significant percentage of those made self-conscious about their body image.” (Lissak) Eating disorders are one good example of the effect the media could have on our youth. It isn’t uncommon to use people that are shown on television, movies or on the Internet as role models or “heroes” and obsess over their images. Media violence is another issue that has been known to have a huge impact on youth. It has been recognized as leading to aggressive behavior in children. This has been supported by
research done by Eugene V Beresin M.D, director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency training. He states that, “when a child hits the age of 18, he more than likely has seen about 200,000 acts of violence on television alone. Kids become nearly desensitized to violence in the real world because of this.” (Beresin) It’s difficult for a young mind to tell the difference between real life and the violent images they’ve seen on television and in movies. Another study done by Beresin shows that kids are learning aggressive behaviors from watching shows and movies, that portray such behavior. “There seems to be an idea set that in every conflict their needs to be a winner and a loser. This can develop a fear of being victimized. It also leans toward the belief that violence is a means of resolving conflicts.” (Beresin) With the overall impact of the media becoming an increasing problem within the younger generation, you can already see a decrease in terms of respect in our society today. Respect for self seems to have disintegrated. Respect for others, as many can see, has shown a decline even within the last few years, with lower standards in society being accepted. Since youth represents the majority of the population, teenagers and young adults are a part of this group. Just the fact that youth have access to information through Internet, they learn things as well as behaviors unsuitable for their age. “Media has well been known to have a negative effect on the psychological aspect of youth”, says LilnaBeth P. Somera, head director of sociology for Baltimore Maryland. (Somera) These effects can result in the breaking down of relationships in our society. Family relationships as well as overall respect for family relationships have deteriorated somewhat as well. Media being the most influential means of relaying information and knowledge worldwide, it can also in terms of youth today, be the most damaging to young developing mind. Having parental guidance and monitoring would be key in overseeing the exposure of the media by means of television, newspaper, radio and especially Internet. While it’s necessary to have the exposure to learn and gain knowledge of today’s views and perceptions, it’s also necessary to have a basis to control or restrict unnecessary information to avoid contamination of the youthful minds of our younger generations.
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