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The Influence of Media on Society

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Essay title: The Influence of Media on Society

The Influence of Media on Society

My average day consists of a media form persistent nearly 24 hours per day. I wake up in the morning; listen to the radio while I’m in the shower, read the newspaper while eating breakfast, and check my email before I leave for work. While I at work, I’m connected to the Internet for the full eight hours and often have my i-Pod in my ear streaming news stories and talk radio while I work. Once I’m home again, I’m plagued with television shows, text book readings and YouTube videos (my own choice of course). But what is the most important media aspect of my everyday life? My cell phone, it’s not just an emergency device anymore. I rely on my cell phone for everything from Internet access, to games, to music, to email. My cell phone is my lifeline. During this assignment I struggled to find ways to entertain myself that didn’t involve a form of mass media. Gone are the days of my childhood where I could just play outside. Come to think of it, it my condo, gone is the lawn that would have made it possible to even play outside. This assignment was a real wake-up call. Until now, I was unaware of how media was involved in my everyday life.

All forms of media aim to make us connect, emotionally, with a product; a video game, fast food chain, book, CD, etc. This is because behaviors are based on emotion, not on logic and they are looking for a way to increase their profit and do. So, by letting them influence the way that we think, act and live our lives we have put our trust in the media to be the authority figures on news and entertainment. The media makes billions of dollars with the advertising they sell and that we are exposed to. So, what’s the best case scenario to an advertising agency? We buy what we are told to. After seeing thousands of advertisings we make our buying decisions based on what we saw on TV, newspapers or magazines. We trust that the media is telling us the truth and that this really is the best product. However, this really isn’t the issue that is in question. The biggest problem with the way that media influences society lies with young children, teenagers and young adults. Their demographics are targeted unfairly and often will ill-intentions. Everyone under the age of 25 is looking for a sense of identity as well as love and respect from their peer group. The media exploits these wants by portraying an ideal image of a man or women with unrealistic expectations. They send hidden, but often blatant, messages that tell one that he or she isn’t cool and/or successful until they buy the appropriate product or look a specific way.

This is seen with the large obesity and anorexia epidemic that is plighting our nation. Gone are the days of playing outside from dawn to dusk, coming instead only for a light lunch and dinner with the family. Media instead is promoting video game consoles and microwave dinners, computer games and junk food. In my child psychology class I learned that a child, on average, is exposed to 40, 000 advertisements per year and most of these advertisements are junk and fast food related. On the flip side of this coin, the fashion industry promotes the opposite. Super skinny, unhealthy looking models are the norm in this industry. They encourage the idea that in order to be beautiful and fashionable it is required to have 0% body fat.

Aside from food consumption and beauty image, media also effects number of other factors in current society. Media also, allegedly, promotes violence through graphic television programs and video games and sways the general public opinion either about a political or celebrity figure or product.

When something goes wrong within a society or culture, blame has to be placed somewhere. It’s unfathomable to place the blame on the parents and therefore, by default, mass media is everyone’s favorite whipping boy - rightfully so, as we see the effects of media on children as young as two years old. At the age of two a child can

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