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The Negative Effects of Mass Media

Today, the media have become an extremely important part of each person’s life. In the past years, the development of technological progress causes the most influential impact on the flow of events. With a help of the new technologies, humanity gained the possibility to search and share information in the easiest way. The modern era can be defined as the era of high technologies and information. The creation of Internet caused an extremely significant impact on the modern media. In addition, because of constant growth of the globalization process, it became easier to get or to share the information all over the world. The development of technology resulted in the growth of media’s influence on society. Each person can share the information on the Internet, and that is why the influence of the Internet can cause both positive and negative effects on society because of a poor control over that information.

Even though media offers many benefits to the modern society, it also has many disadvantages. On one hand, media provides people with the necessary information, lightens important news, and reflects the modern society. On the other hand, it plays a role of manipulator and can become a part of some propaganda. One of the media’s negative effects is the participation and pressure of the governmental ‘powers’. The fact is that sometimes media can be a part of the propaganda. Politicians promote themselves through the media, and, consequently, people may choose the one who appeared more frequently than other candidates. In addition, the most dangerous impact of such propaganda can be that people will live by the proposed scenario of the media (Herman, Chomsky 2008). There is such a term called ‘informational war’, which means that each media representative can give the fake information, and lighten a significant occasion, event, or news from the required side. For instance, today, it is not necessary to create wars in the real life because it is possible to create a fake war through the media. (Lester, Hutchins) The good example of such manipulation is a famous movie “Wag the dog” directed by Barry Levinson, where the government decided to create a fake war to hide sexual scandal that involving the President. In addition, there is a problem of newspaper’s cultivation effect on its reader, where newspapers can impose the reality that creates a certain need on their readers. For example, the researches show that according to the newspapers, foreigners are attributed an offensive image and the EU is shown negatively (Arendt). As a result, the reality of people who read the periodicals can match the newspapers’ perspective, but not the real facts.

The media can have a dramatic influence on the society through the violence on TV or through periodicals. It is certainly the case that modern media, and especially online media, are full of violence. The Internet causes the most dangerous influence, where there is possible to find any necessary information that can sometimes even be illegal or criminal. In the past 15 years, homicide cases increased due to the television and media. Moreover, television can potentially double homicide rates and increase aggression among people. Especially, it refers to the youngsters. Television influences teenagers immensely, and the majority of violence on TV can result in dramatic consequences. (Perry) According to this opinion, there is a question of adult control behind the children’s TV time. This question is especially relevant in connection with a growing role of the Internet in educational and financial parent dependency life of school students. On one hand, the Internet is the most accessible and convenient mass media, but on the other hand, it is the least controlled one. Its often untraceable means of virtual communication makes many teachers express serious fears that the Internet provides access to a bigger array of information, which is potentially dangerous to children. In this case, it is a question of restrictions needed to be reviewed by the education policy, in other words, of media education of children, of increase of their media culture. Every third child of America under the age of 6 years lives in houses where TV works almost all the time. These data are provided by recent research of the American scientists sounding the alarm concerning personal degradation and children’s television dependence in the USA. Its results show a huge abyss between paediatricians’ recommendations and what compassionate parents allow the children. In addition, Internet is the most addictive. Many scientists worry about this kind of addiction because it steals the time from work and education, and through the spread of various information, it can have negative impact on the young minds.

Moreover, not only politics influences the society. Propaganda through the media can be a part of any field of life. One of the main negative consequences of the media often is the communication of the ‘wrong message’. It means that media’s message can be understood in the wrong way. The main purpose of the media is to shed light on the negative events in society and to awaken people about these negatives and their possible consequences. Despite its positive impact, it also can have dramatic consequences. The main problem is that many people can interpret the information incorrectly, and miss what is actually ‘bad’ or ‘good’. There are many disputes according to the freedom of expression in the media. On the modern television, the content can include such dangerous topics as violence, sex, and any other forbidden or aggressive themes. On one hand, it can play a role of caution. On the other hand, it can generate evil and violence. For instance, as an example, it is possible to take one of the greatest Stanley Kubrick’s movies ‘Clockwork Orange’. The main plot of the movie surrounds such topics as violence, rape, crime, and evil. In addition, there were many violent scenes shown in the movie; consequently, this movie caused a lot of disputes and had people both supporting and disapproving its idea. The movie was based on the famous book written by Anthony Burgess. The story was inspired by the dramatic event in the author’s life. His pregnant wife was beaten by the group of teenagers. The purpose of the book and movie was to show the situation in Great Britain according to aggressive teenagers’ behaviour. In addition, the movie and the book touch such issues as the possibility to transform the criminal and possible approaches for this. Despite the fact that this movie was well-regarded by the critics, that time the crime rate was increasing day by day, and many of British people blame this movie almost in every crime that took place in Great Britain. The fact is that the movie became very popular among teenagers, and many of them interpreted this movie in the wrong way. The movie was filmed in modern futuristic style, and it is not a surprise that the main charismatic hero became very popular, even though he was a criminal. Many teenagers started imitating his image, and some of them thought that it is ‘fashionable’ to commit the crime in the way the main hero did. Nevertheless, the movie had a positive purpose. It also caused many unfortunate consequences because of the wrong interpretation. In one interview, the American scandalous singer Marylyn Manson discussed the opinion that his music generates violence and crime among teenagers, and he gave the example of Manson’s band, where the crimes were inspired by Beatles’ album “The white album”. To compare Beatles’ album with Kubrick’s movie, there were no violence topics, so it was an example of a wrong interpretation. According to these examples, it is possible that media can cause ‘blind imitation’, when teenagers, children, or even adults want to be similar to celebrities or popular characters of the movie or programs. For example, there exist many opinions that Disney heroines cause a negative effect on little girls, because those heroines have sexuality, which is not acceptable for the girls under 12 years old. Moreover, the media can cause self-hatred. According to the modern media, people who look attractive get more attention than others and are more successful. Thus, it causes complexes for those who have less attractive appearance. It is just one example when media stereotypes can have bad influence on the minds.

Another major aspect of media’s negative impact is that it can have a subconscious influence on people’s mind. For example, the media can impose an unhealthy way of life. Today, junk-food industries promote their unhealthy products through advertisements. Television and commercials promote unhealthy food neglecting that it causes sky-high rates of obesity. Instead of promoting healthy food and active lifestyle, media promotes different kinds of equipment designed for overweight people.

The main media’s danger is communication of incorrect information. Being presented as authority, it creates fake reality and subconsciously manages people’s minds. Not all kinds of credible claims communicate truth, yet the media sometimes plays a role of a director of people’s lives.

In addition, it is certainly the case that today’s world is media-dominated, so it is impossible to avoid the influence of the media. Media is everywhere, and the information bombs the people’s minds every time. The Internet causes the most negative effects, because the information online is unlimited, and not sufficiently controlled. This way, it is always possible to download any information without accounting for the negative consequences of this kind of use.

To sum up, the media has become an important part of people’s life. Despite the obvious advantages that media can bring to society, it also has serious negative influences. The media can have a negative impact on society trough propaganda, fake information, and approval of aggression. There is a term known as ‘informational war’, which means that each media representative can communicate fake information, and lighten a significant occasion, event, or news from the favorable perspective. Media propaganda can be a part of any field of life. One of the main negative consequences of the media is provision of a room for misinterpretation. It means that media’s message can be either communicated or understood in the wrong way. The main media’s purpose is to lighten the negative aspects of society and inform people about these negatives and their possible consequences. The media can cause ‘blind imitation’ when teenagers, children, or even adults want to imitate celebrities or popular characters of the movie or programs. The main danger of the media is communication of incorrect information, where it creates fake reality and subconsciously manages people’s minds.

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