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My final FYE!

It is pretty remarkable to think that this is my final FYE blog post. Wow have these 6 weeks flown by. I remember feeling overwhelmed with the workload at first and with moving in. I have had a blast participating in LEAP and taking Mass Media and English 15. I have made friends that hopefully I’ll continue to hang out with in the fall. I have learned my way around campus and should not need a map once in the fall! I have learned how to do laundry, manage my own money, and how to create a blog! I have gotten in a routine that I follow every day; unfortunately fall will create a whole new schedule.

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This past weekend, my parents, brother, and uncle came to visit. First we went and got lunch downtown at the Deli. I had delicious pancakes and we then preceded to walk around downtown and did a little shopping. I then walked them up to the Hub and to the bookstore. This was my Uncle’s first time visiting Penn State and he was really impressed by how nice and spacious the Hub and campus were. He is a Temple alum so we have jabbed back and forth a little bit as both teams play on September 5th in Philadelphia. Next I took them to my dorm. They were amazed by how much it had changed since when they helped move me in. From there, we went to the Pollock Commons and down to the car. They promised to take my roommate and I to Target, as our food supply was hitting dangerously low levels. We stocked up for the final week and decided to get diner at Champs. Champs is a sports bar and grille with very clever names for food dishes. Some of the names were Deflate Gate and Linsanity. I had a delicious Chicken Parmesan and we all had a great time. They took me back to my dorm and headed on their way. My mom wasn’t as upset leaving this time as she was the first time because she kept remembering that I would be coming home in 11 days to spend a week at home.

Not much as has really gone on since they left. I am working hard to finish out my classes on a high note. I have a few presentations and essays to complete, and then I am done! My roommate and I went to the State College Spikes game on Sunday night, and got free pink camo jerseys! They are really nice and the game was also a lot of fun.  On Tuesday, my Mass Media class was cancelled, and we were required to take place in a scavenger hunt. This included me and a couple other classmates walking around campus looking for certain things and taking selfies with administrators, statues, and buildings. It was a really fun experience and we got to see some things that we haven’t before. For the first time, I walked inside Old Main. It is really nice and official looking inside. We didn’t get to take a selfie with President Barron, but I’ll survive. Here is to having a great last week at Penn State and having a blast!

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Student Led Discussion: Sex, Violence, and Stereotypes on TV

How much does TV impact your life? The current generation has had TVs around for their entire lives. Television has a profound impact on all age groups, but the demographic it has the biggest impression on are kids. Children spend a lot of time sitting in front of the TV from when they are born until age 16 and the effects are far reaching. Kids will sit with their parents and learn things from the TV shows that their parents watch. Some of the things they observe are potentially hurtful and unhealthy. Kids are heavily influenced by violence, sex, and stereotypes on TV because they often perceive what they see to be reality.

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The TV presents kids with an alternate reality and they do not have the ability to separate real life from what is fiction. They then can’t decide what to believe and how to act. Kids unfortunately spend a lot of time watching violence and make irreversible habits as a result. It has been proven that kids who are subjected to violence repetitively tend to have more aggression, be less empathetic, and  are more anxious. Also, these children are likely to argue more and become bullies. Kids have nightmares and see violence as acceptable and unremarkable. The mass amount of violent content in the media has led to desensitization. The children who watch a great deal of this are more likely to break rules, and hit and fight with classmates. Kids watch violence so much on TV that they lose perception of the fact that violence in real life can cause injury or even kill.  Kids are now virtually unaffected by violence on TV because it has been accepted as the norm. Fisher-Price’s website stated, “By the end of elementary school, the average child has witnessed 8,000 murders and 100,000 other acts of violence on TV.” This fact took both of us by surprise because it’s so upsetting and disturbing. Seeing that amount of violence early in our life has given kids “Mean World Syndrome” according to George Gerbner. This is a phrase he coined to describe how television has made people think the world is more dangerous than it actually is. It causes people to be irrationally scared of the world around them.  They perceive society as scary and unsafe and fear violence. This gives kids a lot of stress. Also, there is a correlation between watching violence at age 8 and being aggressive at age 19. This means that they might not show signs of violence and aggression right away, but tend to be more disruptive and angry later in life. Also kids that watch violence on TV, have been proven to be more likely to drink and drive when they are older, be abusive to wives and kids, and commit other violent crimes.

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In addition to violence, TV gives incorrect perspectives on sex to kids. According to a 2011 study, TV is the main medium that youth see sexual content on. Kids see sex on TV, don’t understand what it is, and create an inaccurate meaning of sex in their mind. There are countless images/videos of two people in a bed and there are even more conversations had in shows about sex. These discussions are never what the children should be learning. Rarely is there discussion of sexually transmitted infections, birth control methods, relationship negotiation, parent-child communication or abstinence. In a study conducted by the Children’s Hospital Boston, they stated, “6 to 8-year-old children who watch prime-time, network television shows with adult content are more likely to have sex when they’re 12 to 14 years old than 6- to 8-year-olds who do not see those shows.” Parents often neglect to have the “sex talk” early enough and as a result, their children learn everything they know about sex from friends and media outlets like TV. It’s alarming to know that we live in a nation where STIs are a fast-growing concern and that media like television is only making it worse. 15 percent of sex scenes on TV show two characters that just met having sex. Depictions of sexual content on shows like Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond may seem innocent, but they’re giving children the wrong ideas about sex.

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Another area that kids can get the wrong ideas about from watching TV is stereotypes. This includes gender roles and racial discrimination. In regards to gender roles, in TV shows, they show men as more dominant when talking or interacting with females. Also, white men are more dominant then other races. TV portrays male figures as powerful, smart, tolerant, and competitive. On the contrary, they portray women as warm, happy, timid, and dependent. These characteristics generalize all men and women and create the false perception that these are the attributes carried by the two genders in all cases. Children, being the most impressionable of all the demographics, often blindly regard these interpretations as truth. Through hours upon hours of television consumption, stereotypes like men must focus on strength and performance while women should only care about attractiveness and desirability become deeply instilled in the views mind. The Muppets have been under scrutiny for using sexism. This is due to the fact that all of the puppets names are male names and all of the voice actors (even Miss Piggy) are done by men. Racial discrimination is a another major issue on television. In the TV show Hey Arnold!, the one black character, Gerald, is tall, athletic, and wears sports clothing. The only asian portrayed in the show, Phoebe, is studious, wears glasses, and is overall a geek. Then of course there’s the protagonist of the series, Arnold. He embodies the stereotypical white heterosexual male as he’s a peacemaker and is well liked among others in the show. By depicting the characters in these ways, Hey Arnold! is reinforcing stereotypes and making generalizations about race that children pick up by watching the show. The use of gender roles and race roles on kids TV programs negatively influences the viewer’s beliefs. Adoption of stereotypes at such a young age makes advancement in diversity and cultural acceptance much harder down the road.

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There are several precautionary actions that parents should and need to take so their kids understand the message that they are receiving on TV and can navigate through the negative influences. First, parents need to explain to their children that the events shown on children’s TV programs are not meant to display real life, but that they are fictional. This is a difficult, but an essential piece to safeguarding the child from blindly accepting the things they see as truth. Also, parents need to keep an eye on the clock. Kids should not be allowed to spend too much time in front of the TV. There should be a healthy balance of other activities like going outside or reading. Additionally, parents should know the rating of the TV show or movie that their kid is watching. Wandering on through the channels to a violent rated R movie with cruel and violent content is not appropriate for young children. Lastly, parents should initiate the “sex talk” with their children before they are wrongly influenced by sex portrayed on television. They need to avoid getting the wrong message and believing in false information. You should clarify any stereotypes and make sure they know what is racist and sexist information. In a society that puts such heavy emphasis on media consumption, children need to be taught early on how to process the differences between entertainment and reality.

 

George Gerbner

George Gerbner

Bank Point Assignment: No media and technology for 24 hours!

On Monday July 13th, I decided to attempt the feat of no media for 24 hours straight! For kids of my generation this is an insanely difficult task. I love my iPhone to death as well as my laptop and TV. For this day, I told myself no Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or ESPN. I love all of these Social Medias and it was quite the endeavor to avoid them for 24 hours. I also had to keep from reading the newspaper. I didn’t read the newspaper often at home, but the readership program here at Penn State is very useful, and allows me to catch up on all the current local and national news. I was never really big on watching the news on TV, mostly due to the fact that unfortunately, it is really depressing. Another great thing about the newspaper is it offers a few Sudoku puzzles. I love solving these in my free time as it helps me keep my mind sharp. Also this means no reading my new Sports Illustrated Fantasy Football magazine or listening to my iPhone/radio. I thought that going without music might be even harder than avoiding social media because I listen to music 24/7. I am huge on rock and roll and love to listen to The Beatles or The Rolling Stones while working on schoolwork or walking around. All of these things had to be put on hold for 24 hours so I could experience what it is like to live without media.

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It now came time for the hard part; actually getting through the day without these luxuries. At 12:00 midnight I turned off my phone and placed it across from me in my room. I went to bed not knowing at all what was in store for me in my media/technology free day. I very rarely use my phone as an alarm clock. I picked this leap specifically because I am interested in media and communications, but also because the time of the class allows me to sleep as long as I want. My first class doesn’t start until 12:45. On a typical day, I usually wake up when my roommate Andrew gets up or when I am awoken by the trash truck/thunderstorm. This is very rare and usually I just sleep until my stomach starts growling and it wakes me up or until I have slept as much as I can. Normally, I wake up around 11-11:30 ish. This gives me about an hour to get ready to go to class. I don’t normally go to breakfast so seeing the TV’s in the dining hall was not an issue. I took my time showering, getting dressed and walking to class. My Mass Media class was no issue because cell phones and laptops aren’t allowed in class. In my English 15 class however, we are allowed to use laptops/cell phones and most of the class does. I didn’t even bring my phone or computer because I knew how tempted I would be to check on my Philadelphia Phillies. As much as I wanted to see if Jonathan Papelbon or Cole Hamels got traded, I would have to wait until midnight. After class was another very tempting time to go back to my dorm and get on my phone or laptop. I went back to my room and picked up my camera case, as it was the day after Arts Fest. I walked back to return it to the ROTC building, and then went to The Mix to pick up a sandwich. I sat at my desk and red over my already written and printed out essay for my English class. I was very limited what I could work on because I couldn’t use my laptop. To accommodate for not being able to do much school work on Monday, I worked ahead during the weekend prior. As annoying and not fun it was to do a lot of work on the Sunday of Arts Fest weekend, I knew I had to work ahead because I really couldn’t do anything on Monday night. After that I decided to walk up to the Intramural building and play basketball. This is one of my favorite things to do on campus. I have met a bunch of friends that go as well, and we play basketball together. I played basketball for about 2 and a half hours. Exhausted, I walked back to my dorm. I ate the little food I had left in my dorm and then decided to shower. After my shower, I was exhausted from the gym and decided to go to bed “early”. Most people don’t really consider 11:00pm early, but I do. There wasn’t a heck of a lot of things to do so I decided to go to bed. I might as well catch up on my sleep because I was exhausted from a really fun weekend at Arts Fest. I woke up the next morning, probably the earliest I have all year (besides the 9:30 classes for guest speakers) and felt refreshed and accomplished. I had made it 24 hours (technically closer to 30) without using any kind of media/technology device!

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Wow, what an experience it was to go 24 hours without media. It was very much so a drastic change from what I do in my normal day. It is kind of scary how much my generation (myself included) is addicted to our phones and technology. We become dependent and always need something in our hands to occupy us. It is crazy to think that even when my parents were growing up, the cell phone didn’t exist and neither did the laptop. Looking even farther back, my grandparents really only grew up with a radio, and maybe one single TV in the house as they reached my age. I wonder what it was like for them to entertain themselves on an average day. They probably look at us “Generation Y” and think we are missing out on important lessons and activities. Yes we do go outside but, they spent almost all day outside exploring. They also spent more family time then we do. I really hope that the future holds a decline in media dependence. Unfortunately, I don’t see this happening. Going a day without media showed me that it is the way we should all try to live our lives. I’m not saying we need to get rid of technology for good, because that will never happen with teenagers and people in general. I think we need to spend more time interacting with people face to face, instead of over a text message or snapchat. You can build better relationships that way and can explore much more. When we don’t constantly spend all the time on our phones we can break our “personal bubble” and branch out. I enjoyed for once, not having the urge to grab it and go on a social media. When you really think about it, the things we do really serve no purpose. Teens love this new app called Snapchat. All it does is it allows us to take a picture of ourselves and send to our friends with short messages. Instead of taking pictures we could go and actually hang out with them. Instead of just seeing them on a little plastic screen, we can see them face to face. After successfully completing this exercise/challenge, I would encourage others to try it. It seems a lot more difficult and taunting then it really is. You learn a lot about yourself doing this and really see a whole different perspective on life. It gives you a more natural feeling and you don’t feel so tied down to technology. I hope I have showed you why this is a good idea and even hopefully convinced you to put the phone down and see what it is like without media and technology!

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MMS #5: Vacation to carry on the series name!

Yesterday, Vacation hit movie theaters across the country. It is the seventh installment of the National Lampoon’s Vacation series. Warner Brothers created the movie and are in charge of continuing on a famous and prominent movie series. The two main characters are Clark and Ellen Griswold. Most movies include their entire family from their kids Rusty, and Audrey to Eddie and Catherine Johnson. Clark and Ellen are played by Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo. These two have been in the entire series, which few have done in this series. Other famous actors in this movie are Ed Helms (Rusty), Chris Hemsworth, Keegan – Michael Key, and Christina Applegate. It is interesting to see this cast. It is chopped full of famous actors and actresses. Chris Hemsworth is famous for playing Thor in the Marvel films. Ed Helms is famous for his role in the Hangover series. Keegan-Michael Key is famous for his role in the TV show Key & Peele. Lastly, Christina Applegate is famous for her role staring alongside Will Ferrell in the Anchorman movies. That is quite a cast to go along with the living legend Chevy Chase. Chevy is getting up there in age, but is still just as funny.

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The plot of the movie entails Rusty and his wife taking their family to the famous Walley World. This is the same place that Rusty and Audrey went with their parents in one of the first films. The Griswold family makes a lot of stops as they travel out to California. The plot is basically the same as one of the first movies, except the main charter in this movie is Rusty instead of Clark. Rusty is grown up in this movie as he was quite young in the first films. The first film in the series was made in 1983. The reviews for this movie have not been very good so far. A lot of people think they are making too many of these movies. I think it will be very funny. Ed Helms is hilarious and the fact that this is a Rated R movie means they can use more crude humor. Sometimes that makes the movies funnier. Also, Chevy Chase is in this movie. Despite the fact that he is 71, his humor is still sharp and on point. I am probably not going to see this movie in theaters, but I look forward to watching in when it comes out on DVD.

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Link: http://variety.com/2015/film/features/vacation-jonathan-goldstein-john-francis-daley-1201550271/