Considering 95% of households in 1971 had televisions in the US and Canada, imagine the percentage currently in 2017. (Schneider, Gruman, Cotts, 2012.) Everywhere we look we are surrounded by some form of media. Throughout history media has enhanced and expanded its capabilities drawing in newer generation each year with devices such as radios, phone, TV’s, VCR/DVD and cell phones to name a few. Media consumes extensive amount of hours within the day and the number continues to grow. Think about it, as I sit here writing this blog I can watch television, listen to the radio and possible hold a conversation on the phone at the same time. Imagine all the other devices I could use if I wasn’t typing! There are endless possibilities but with all of the extensive amounts of media outlets and electronics there are drawback. In my opinion, the world is over exposed to violence, sex and the influences of mass media
Let’s start by reviewing violence. Society is overexposed to violence on television. Sadly, it’s not simply limited to the shows televised on premium channels such as HBO, “astonishing 85% of shows contain violence” and is increasing yearly. (Schneider, Gruman, Cotts, 2012.) In other words, there is only 15% of shows with no violence. What’s baffling is that it doesn’t stop with the adult shows; it extends over to the children shows with “approximately two thirds” of the shows forecasting some form of violent act? (Schneider, Gruman, Cotts, 2012.) As a result, experiments and studies have been designed to determine the effects of watching aggressive television and negative effects associated by viewing it. Namely, exposure to violent television shows heightened violent behavior and stimulate aggressive acts. (Schneider, Gruman, Cotts, 2012.) Take the Notel study as an example, at first, the children didn’t have television. Once they were exposed to violent shows on TV, aggressive behaviors shortly followed. Since children cognitive thought process has not fully developed in their young years, they are more susceptible to being influenced. Children tend to imitate what is seen; such as, the experiment with the bobo doll. The kids watched a movie of someone attacking the doll. As a result, they mimicked the same action displayed on the tape months later. Unknowingly to them, they were being primed to display violent acts of aggression. Priming is how one responds to a stimulus. (Schneider, Gruman, Cotts, 2012.) For this reason, alone it is imperative to monitor shows being watched my children. Not only can it prime there thought process but it will alter their view of the world by way of cultivation theory. To enumerate, cultivation theory suggests that individuals who are exposed to media violence will start to view the world as unsafe. (Schneider, Gruman, Cotts, 2012.) Rightfully so, the media has a way of altering one perceptions and views if they are constantly exposed to a specific trigger.
Then there is pornography, just about everywhere a person turns it is there. An individual can find it on television, DVDS, and magazine with provocative images used to entice the viewer/reader. It’s no wonder the world is over sexed and enhancing sexist views towards women! It doesn’t stop with one type of porn; there are all types from erotica to nonviolent porn to violent porn. With attention too, I believe there are other types of porn that aren’t discussed in our text. Interestingly enough, the attorney General Commission on Pornography suggested that watching significant amount of nonviolent porn “increases sexual violence and coercion, ” with that being said, imagine the amount of damaged caused by violent pornography. Then, consider how this contributes to negative attitudes towards women. Or perhaps, it starts with Erotica porn and your palette for porn grows and now the individual is searching for the next type of porn; it’s like opening Pandora box. Pornography has a way of influences one thoughts and perceptions and can make it hard to distinguish between what is reality. Media has a similar effect on altering ones thoughts. Schneider, Gruman, Cotts, 2012, believes the media “influences what people think about” by way of agenda setting. (Schneider, Gruman, Cotts, PG 157) The exposure causes the individual to think about what is being shown on television. There are three types of agenda: public agenda- significant concerns of the community, policy agenda- concerns of political parties and media agenda- concerns media discussed broadly. (Schneider, Gruman, Cotts, 2012) Each agenda has an objective that impacts the party exposed to it. Lastly, the media tends to sway people based off of their available heuristic and what they are readily able to remember based off of what is more salient. With this in mind, it depends on the method in which the media frames the message.
In sum, society is bombarded with violence, sex and influential media outlets. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there, now it has trickled over to video games. As an illustration, grand theft auto, which happens to be a video game, is filled with sexual content and violence. Everywhere you turn sexuality and violence is prevalent. Topics that use to be taboo to mention is being streamed everywhere. Turn on the radio in the car and the songs might actually make one blush or feel embarrassed. In fact, I find myself turning off the radio. Similarly, I personally do not watch the news because it depressing; in my opinion, it’s filled with violence, sadness and hatred. As a parent, it’s scary to think of the amount of noise pollution our children are exposed too. An individual can only shield them but so much before there little eyes and ears catch wind of all of the negative messages and images currently found in media.
Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN 978-1412976381