Contrary to Popular Belief Mass Media Exposure Is Beneficial

May 19, 2009
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We have heard of the correlation between mass media and people’s decreased sensitivity to acts of violence. Mass media is often blamed for making people more aggressive, but there must be positive side-effects to mass media. In my opinion, mass media has allowed people to communicate, feel interconnected, and highlight global issues in a matter of minutes through the use of various delivery methods, for example: magazines, newspapers, television, radio, computers, and cell phones. Furthermore, email - an offshoot of communication technologies -has revolutionized the speed in which we communicate, and conduct personal and business transactions with someone on the other side of the world.

Psychologists claim that whatever we are exposed to will determine how we perceive and respond to life. For example, people that are drawn to horror movies are more likely to resort to acts of violence as a way of coping with life’s circumstances and challenges. Isn’t logical then to argue that if we are exposed to media that focuses on education, involvement, and stewardship that it will have a positive effect on the person we become; perhaps, even making us more productive citizens and exemplary role models. It is my opinion that, in the final analysis, it is really our choice on how mass media affects us!

At a click of a button we can choose what we watch, listen to, or engage in. We can form friendships with our neighbors and friendships with someone across the world. Media has shrunk the world in which we live – we can no longer pretend ignorance to the problems occurring in distant lands. Media can be our friend and ally in becoming well informed human beings. As I have mentioned it is not media in general that could potentially cause a problem but rather the types of media that we consciously or unconsciously choose that could be detrimental. It’s similar to choosing the types of people we hang out with - some makes us feel uplifted, while others can influence us in a “negative” way.

The right type of Media can inspire people to be creative. Media can bring about a change in the attitudes and beliefs of the common man. Didn’t you feel part of the 2008 presidential election? Think of where we would be if there was no mass media for presidential elections. The media can deliver information quickly, cheaply, and efficiently helping us make decisions that advance society. Think of all the times that you have watched a program or read an article that inspired you into action.

Media is also educational and keeps you informed on something happening across the world almost instantaneously. Imagine what 9/11would have been like without the ease of media. The news would have taken several days or weeks to travel across the country and world. Sometimes we forget and take it for granted! Apart from being inspirational, the right kind of media is informational and is always up to date with the latest and greatest information. According to Manali Oak, a software engineer and developer, media “…increases social awareness in children and develops their concern towards society.” Written media also improves children’s vocabulary. Newspapers and magazines are one of the best sources to develop reading as a way of life for children. Evidently, media has a direct impact over the lifestyle of society.

So despite what you may have heard, take a moment to think of all the times you have been positively influenced by the media. How would your life be different if there were no media? Media essentially brings people closer and defines societies. Can you foresee a time when we may be one global community or society? Overall, media has brought about a major revolution in the way the masses think. Before global mass media, people would only be concerned with their own town and not know or care about the rest of the world. There could be a war, natural disaster, or human rights violations occurring in other parts of the world and we would not hear about it for months. Given the same situation, now, it is only a matter of minutes until the whole world knows about it.

Obviously media has had at least some positive effect on most people’s lives; so I would recommend not taking it for granted and being grateful that we have efficient and expedient technologies that enable us to communicate with our fellow human beings across the planet. Change is difficult and the speeds in which these technologies are evolving are unprecedented but let us not throw the baby out with the bath water. We are more interconnected, mass amounts of information are at our finger tips, and we can have friends all over the world. But remember, don’t live your life vicariously and spend your whole life in front of a TV, phone, or computer. Go outside and live your life as we have for hundreds of years, physically engaged with our natural surroundings and friends.





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