Type: Analysis
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Impact of Mass Media on Society Essay Sample

Modern mass media makes a huge psychological influence on consciousness and the formation of human identity. The role of mass media is connected with its influence on various stages and sides of the information process in the society. The flow of information in the modern world is so various and inconsistent that it is not possible for an ordinary person or even for a group of experts to sort it out independently, therefore, a strong influence is made exactly by mass media. Mass media is a powerful factor of impact on a psychological and social condition of people; the degree of influence on the youth, the audience with weak consciousness and not a settled outlook, is the greatest.

The aspects of the influence of mass media are numerous. The most popular beliefs will be presented in this work, having allocated both positive and negative factors of the influence of mass media on the identity of the youth. Mass media has a huge number of functions, and, therefore, the aspects of influence. For example, there are some “direct aspects”, which are connected with the main function of mass media that is an information transfer, for instance, entertaining, informative, and educational functions, etc. The influence, which is directed more deeply and cannot be noticed, at first sight, will be analyzed in the paper.

Mass media widely uses the methods of subconscious influence when the relation of the society to these or those phenomena of the world around is formed by means of various methods, which take their root from the news flow, automatically causing in mass consciousness either a negative or positive reaction to a concrete event.

Negative Factors of the Influence of Mass Media

The negative influence of mass media lies in the fact that its task is to create a strong, steady relation to the given phenomenon due to persuasion. Considering the biological nature, a person is subjected to persuasion, an imitation, and infectivity. The essence of the mass media’s activity, putting a task to inspire something in the society, is inhumane as people cannot supervise the influence directed on them and, respectively, are powerless before such persuasions.

Another negative impact of mass media is promotion. For many years, the promotion has fulfilled a large number of ways for manipulating public consciousness, which is really effective and allow influencing the mass in a certain way. One of the negative impacts on the consciousness of the youth is misinformation.

At some point, mass media gives information often being a total lie. As a rule, misinformation, moving from different sources and “sinking down in subconsciousness of people”, is used at the time of the adoption of an important decision, and when the truth is known, the purpose of misinformation will already be reached. Thus, this method is quite effective. The method of misinformation is frankly “rough” and is infrequently used in modern mass media, unlike the influence connected with associations.

The Method of Associations and Stereotypes in Mass Media

The method of associations assumes a careful selection and a special configuration of the concepts, causing either positive or negative associations, which allow to influence the perception of information (“we are fighters for independence, prosperity of our country, they are invaders, enslavers of the people; all progressive mankind, simple people are for us, oligarchs, bandits, officials are for them”). As the method is based on certain associations, it allows affecting a person easily according to his/her habits and beliefs. Therefore, it leads to the formation of stereotypes.

Stereotypes operate effectively all the process of information perception. The process of perception is only “a mechanical adjustment of the still unknown phenomenon under a steady general formula” (a stereotype). Mass media standardizes the message, which means it “brings” information under a stereotype, general opinion in a special way. A person has to perceive the message unconditional and effortless, without an internal fight and a critical analysis.

Stereotypes are formed under the influence of two factors that are unconscious collective processing and individual social and cultural environment, as well as, certainly, under a purposeful ideological influence of mass media. It is easy to manipulate the consciousness of a person by means of stereotypes that are closely connected with social activity as a whole and concrete groups of people in particular.

For example, “the hope philosophy”, interpreted as the orientation to ideal samples, has remained as a stereotype. Because of mass media, the youth often has an opinion of impossibility to influence on their future; they feel disinterest of the authorities in the future staff, etc. Thus, the majority of the researchers show a close connection of stereotypes with a huge influence of the mass media, forming the relation to the world, the behavior of the acts of their “heroes”, created by the press, radio, or television. Mass media accustoms the person to think by stereotypes and reduce an intellectual level of messages. Repetition has served as the main method of fixing the necessary stereotypes in the consciousness of people.

The modern art changes and deforms the mentality of the children influencing his/her imagination, giving new behavior’s ways and models. False and dangerous values “rush into children’s consciousness” from the virtual world full of cultural forces, aggressions, rough and trite behavior that results in hyperexcitability of the children.

Aggression on TV Screens

Most animated films contain aggression. Numerous repetitions of the scenes of sadism, when the hero of the animated film causes someone pain, promotes the development of the corresponding models of behavior.

Children repeat what they see on screens, this is a consequence of identification. Identifying themselves with the creatures, who conduct deviant behavior, which is not punished on the screen and is not blamed in any way, the children imitate it and acquire its aggressive models of behavior. Albert Bandura, in 1970, said that one television model could become an imitation subject for millions.

Children feel satisfaction playing computer games and mentally breaking moral standards. In virtual reality, there is no scale of human feelings. A child does not endure the usual human emotions, such as pain, sympathy, and empathy. On the contrary, habitual feelings are distorted. Instead, a child enjoys the satisfaction of killing and suppressing.

Aggression in animated films is accompanied by beautiful, bright pictures. Heroes are beautifully dressed, or they stay in a beautiful room, or the appealing scene, which is accompanied by murder, is simply drawn by fight, murder and other aggressive models of behavior. It is done in order to attract viewers. Adding sadism in pictures on the basis of the available ideas of beauty dilutes the developed images. Thus, the aesthetic perception, new culture of the person is formed. The children eager to watch these animated films and movies, and they start to perceive them as a norm. They do not understand why adults with traditional ideas of beauty and norms do not want to show animated films to the children.

The characters of the most animated films are often ugly and externally disgusting. The matter is that a child identifies him/herself not only with the behavior of the character. The children’s imitation mechanisms are reflective and strong to catch the slightest emotional changes, the smallest mimic grimaces. Monsters are spiteful, stupid, and mad. Identifying themselves with such characters, the children correlate their feelings to the complexion. They also start to behave as appropriate. It is impossible to adopt a spiteful mimicry and remain a good-natured person in the soul, to adopt a senseless grin and seek “to grind away at the studies”, as in the TV program “Sesame Street”.

The atmosphere of the video market is penetrated by murderers, tyrants, witches, and other characters, the communication with whom would never be chosen in a real life. The children see all this on TV screens. Their subconsciousness is not protected yet by common sense and the life experience, allowing them to delimit real and conditional things. A child perceives all he/she sees as the reality, imprinting for the rest of life. The TV screen full of violent scenes replaced the world of adults, grandmothers and mothers’ reading and familiarizing themselves with the original culture. Here is the growth of:

  • emotional and mental disorders;
  • depressions;
  • teenage suicides;
  • unmotivated cruelty of the children.

Impact of Mass Media on Youth

The Influence of Movies on Children’s Mentality

The main danger of the TV is connected with the will and consciousness suppression, similar to the one which is reached by drugs. The American psychologist, A. Mori writes that a long contemplation of the material, tiring the eye-sight, makes hypnotic catalepsy that is accompanied by a weakening of will and attention. With a certain duration of influence, the light flashes, blinking with a certain rhythm, start interacting with the brain alpha rhythms on which the ability of the concentration of the attention depends. They disorganize the brain’s rhythmic, and the syndrome of the attention violation with hyperactivity develops.

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The flow of the visual and acoustical information, which does not demand concentration and intellectual efforts, is perceived passively. It is transferred to a real-life over time, and a child starts perceiving it the same way. It is getting more and more difficult to concentrate on task performance, make intellectual or strong-willed effort and other things. A child gets used to doing only those things which do not demand efforts. A child has difficulties in taking part in the lessons, perceiving educational information. There is no development of nervous links, memories, and associations without an active cerebration.

Computer and TV take away childhood from the children. Instead of active games, experiences of true emotions and feelings, and communication with contemporaries and parents, cognition through the surrounding world, the children sit in front of TV and computer for hours, days and nights, losing the possibility to develop themselves. Children watch a large number of horror films, news about terrible incidents, series about bandits, cynical talk-shows, clips with silly songs and naked performers, and infinite advertising.

Certainly, there are also TV programs about animals, classical music, kind animated films and movies, programs about science and culture. Unfortunately, not many families watch them, as an absolutely different format is in fashion.

An adult person is capable to filter the information arriving through the blue screen. However, even in this case, subconsciousness is influenced by movies, programs, and advertising. The children’s subconsciousness, in general, absorbs almost 100% of information broadcasted on TV. TV negatively influences even a sleeping child. In spite of the fact that he/she does not see the picture, his/her brain fixes all the sounds and acquires the sense of the heard. Therefore, when adults want to watch a horror film, it would be better to do it in the other room.

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It is unlikely someone will guarantee the lack of influence of any movie on children’s mentality. Children imitate their favorite heroes, and presently they are not small bears and hares but robots, monsters, heroes with the weapon, Teletubbies and others, that has a negative impact on the mentality of a child. Children do not like to watch old movies, which can teach them goodness, friendship, respect, and honesty. Presently, a movie is considered to be full of pursuits and firefights, where heroes possess such qualities as hatred, falsity, and meanness.

The information influence of the modern world covers all sectors of society more and more, including school and preschool children. It is impossible to live in modern society ignoring such phenomena as television, magazines, cinema, the Internet. However, the family education often pays not enough attention to what a child watches on TV, what he/she listens in earphones, what computer games he/she plays (and how many) and what film stars he/she adores. Most often, in this sphere, a child is on his/her own, children’s consciousness is not formed yet. Therefore, children, as the most impressionable and unsophisticated audience, are exposed to the greatest influence from visual mass media.

According to some information in the world, more than 1000 researches, devoted to the influence of television, cinema and video games on children, were conducted. The results of all are almost identical. The aggression on the screen makes children more aggressive in relation to people and inanimate objects. Children, who watch many programs containing violence scenes, perceive this violence as an acceptable way of a resolution of conflicts.

Watching violent scenes makes a person more defenseless to violence in real life. Broadcasted programs and movies develop the absence of compassion in a child, indifference to the evil, excessive emotional tranquility together with aggression. All the problems in the majority of animated films, games, telecasts are solved with power methods, and children involuntarily copy them. The modern television cultivates children’s negative qualities such as cruelty, aggression, and forwardness.

According to the American medical association, for the years spent at school, the average child watches on TV 8000 murders and 100 000 acts of violence. Besides, researchers came to the conclusion that the television propagandizes dissoluteness, as in 91% of episodes which show sexual relations between a man and woman, partners are not married. If an adult still can critically estimate all this production and separate virtual reality from reality, a child often perceives these television schemes as the plan for the imitation in a real-life, and he/she gradually forms a criminal style of thinking.

If a person is offended, therefore, he has to hit back and destroy the offender. If you understand that you cannot reach what you aspire with lawful methods, you can reach it illegally. As a result, people have an accustoming to these scenes, a formation of images that the main solution of the majority of problems are violent, and the formation of very strange ideas or samples for inheritance (the hero of the fighter, on the average, shoots and kills more people than the negative hero.

More about the Effects of Science and Technology on Society

Positive Aspects of Mass Media

Nevertheless, mass media has also a positive influence. The reality surrounding people is constantly and laboriously systematized by a brain considering new knowledge and skills, new information and new events every day that join the structures which have already been created or form new ones. People constantly have to collect and process the coming information. At first, this division is primitive on pleasant and unpleasant information, but in the process of its “growth”, the information accepts the most various values.

Often a person, who has received this or that information on a large scale on any concrete object, is not capable to define the value of this information him/herself. Mass media comes to help. Mass media covers various actual public problems, and by that, it influences the opinions and behavior of people both in society and individually.

Press, television, radio and the Internet and advertising belong to the mass media tools. For the last decades, the means of communication have undergone essential changes owing to the distribution of the satellite communication, cable radio, and television, electronic text communication systems (video, screen, and cable texts), as well as individual means of accumulation and printing of information (cartridges, diskettes, disks, printers).

However, audiovisual mass media as television, the Internet and advertising have the strongest impact on society. It is connected with the “effect of presence” as sound and video series are in an organic unity, and both major types of the receptors of the person are involved to provide the creation of stronger communications with the audience, perceiving information (Harris, 2009). Due to its impact, mass media influences each person separately and society as a whole, forming certain identical emotions and actions. In this context, it can be shown a positive influence of mass media, though this influence can be the opposite one.

The public opinion is formed as a condition of the mass consciousness by means of mass media comprising the hidden or obvious relations of various social communities to the problems, real events. For example, there is an accurately formulated public opinion concerning such global universal problems as the prevention of an ecological disaster, nuclear, biological warfare, etc. The public opinion acts in a control, advisory function.

The Internet gains increasing popularity among the representatives of the youth as it bears three main functions that are:

  1. communications (as a source of communications);
  2. mass media (as an information source);
  3. productions (as bases for business).

Impact of Mass Media on Youth Essay Conclusion

There are almost no barriers on the way of the development of computer information technologies. The Internet is a system of search and transfer of information, generated by these technologies and, undoubtedly, in the near future, it will get an absolute set of degrees of freedom. This phenomenon opens huge opportunities for creativity, training, modeling and many other areas for the young men, seeking self-development. Virtual technologies, created and applied on the basis of understanding of the phenomenon of virtual reality, will bring an undoubted benefit both to a separately taken person and the state system as a whole.

The value of the mass media’s influence not only on the social position of the modern youth but also on the mental condition is great. Young people direct many efforts to study, work, therefore, having come home, they, undoubtedly, seek to relax and have a rest. It is necessary to mention what mental condition the people usually have when they settle themselves in front of the computer or television or they aspire to relax with a newspaper or a magazine. It is recorded that the greatest share of crimes was made in the house conditions. Various quarrels, stresses, dissatisfaction with life result in depression, hysteria. The exciting person, appearing in house conditions, splashes out his/her rage on neighbors being under the influence of TV, radio and other factors.

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