Mass Media’s influence on
Society

Statement
of the Problem

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       Mass media is
accessible on a worldwide scale, so it has the complete potential to be a
social problem. The reason is mainly because media itself controls the
direction of society. “Whatever we know about our society, or indeed about the world
in which we live, we know through the mass media” (Luhmann, 2007). WM1 The media has the potential to
shape people’s personality, change how people perceive and understand the world
and actual reality (Clark, 2012). The media persuades people into thinking that
it’s acceptable to act, look and live a certain way. Media has become a part of
people’s daily lives and it has played the dominant role in every part of the
learning process. “The most regularly used information source
for acquiring knowledge, by all accounts is the mass media” WM2 (Clark, 2012WM3 ). In his theory, the news (a
form of mass media) occupies a critical position in society and their
responsible for educating society and disseminating important information but
we can’t say everything that is disseminated is completely true (Clark, 2012).
In fact, the society has already accepted the deficiencies of the media (Bechmann & Stehr, 2011).

      The media can
indeed vastly shape the life of any individual and completely change the
cultural and moral values of society. The TV, computer, cell phones are the
main sources that has a strong effect on members of this society. People have
argued that our society is more mass mediated interacted than human interacted.WM4  The media have failed miserably
in addressing and helping to solve real social issues and this is what make
mass media a social issue. 

Consequences

The media affects
the physical and mental well-being of people to a certain extent. “Interaction is
ruled out by the interposition of technology, and this has far reaching
consequences which define for us the concept of mass media”
(Luhmann, 2007WM5 ). The media has certain
psychological effects and those effects would be the ability to change people’s
outlook on their own life and life itself. Majority of the people exposed to
media are bound to believe what is depicted by the media, especially the youth
today. “America’s
youth are awash in media” (Roberts & Foehr, 2008WM6 ). Young girls are known to keep
their cell phones at hand as well as boys but the young girls that looks up to
media generally depicts gender-bias in the terms of reinforcing gender roles.
Advertisements usually show attractive dressed women with makeup and nice figures
which tells these young girls that they should look like that. The norm
(culturally speaking) for the girls would be that these girls are most likely
going to be influenced by the mass media’s cultural expectation of genderWM7 . In fact, “Contemporary digital technologies are the playing field of today’s
youth, places where lessons are learned, attitudes are formed, and body image
concerns can be cultivated and metastasized into convictions” (Williams
& Ricciardelli, 2014)WM8 .

Mass media
is basically mainstream media and it’s a part of almost any type of culture, so
this basically means that violence in certain ads that the media presents,
people will take in what they see and accept it subconsciously. Media mostly
focuses on the “negative” and by this it effects not only the youth, but it
effects the entire worldWM9 . Based on my research, it’s
believed that “exposure to television violence in movies, shows and video games
increases the risk of violent behavior on the viewer’s part just as growing up
in a bad environment with real violence increases the risk of violent behavior
(Huesmann,
2007WM10 ).
“The influence of the violent mass media is best viewed as one of the many
potential factors that influence the risk for violence and aggression” (Huesmann, 2007). They say entertainment is a function of mass media and violence
in movies/shows is what the media advertises daily.

Origins

The problem starts from Mass
media itself, preferably news outlets and entertainment. The media’s role is to
basically educate, inform and entertain but it also deceives and corrupts,
contributing to the degradation of society. “Mass media has a habit of not presenting a
truthful image of reality that they have distinguished but tend to create their
own views of reality which they communicate through daily as news, reports and
advertising” (Bechmann & Stehr, 2011). “Although truth, or rather the
assumption of truth, is indispensable for news and in-depth reporting, the mass
media do not follow the code true/untrue, but rather the code
information/noninformation, even in their cognitive area of programming”
(Luhmann, 2007).WM11  Media has
made its contributions in many ways that both apprised and improved society,
but in other ways it has degenerated and bewildered it.

Since people’s mind and their self are social
productsWM12 , it
completely makes sense as to why individuals understanding of cultural norms is
influenced by their complete digestion of the mass media. Developing these
types of norms would be by digesting advertisements, The radio, TV shows and
movies.  According to his WM13 theory “The basis for advertising is not the
creation of pretty appearance of reality: on the contrary, advertising openly
states its desire to manipulate, and by doing so it is better able to influence
the motives and memory of its target audience” (Luhmann, 2007WM14 ).

Remedies

       Media consumption is what’s influencing
the society, too much consumption can be a problem. According to research,
measuring the consumption of media for television viewing every year between
1972 to 2004 were divided into three groups, those groups being high, medium
and low consumption (Johnson & Kellstedt, 2014). TV viewing for individuals
who watched only one hour or less of TV: resulted as being “low consumption”,
Individuals viewing TV two to three hours, resulted in being “medium
consumption” and lastly individuals viewing television for four or more hours
resulted in “high consumption” (Johnson & Kellstedt, 2014).  Based on research people of the society are
voracious in their consumption of media (Johnson
& Kellstedt, 2014).WM15 

     Monitoring
media consumption and making sure that hours spent on media is a way to prevent
media corruption. Media is highly influential; however, it is important to get a
well-balanced view of information as opposed to one view from one news media
outlet. It’s
believed that media influence depends on that person’s level of political
awareness (Johnson & Kellstedt, 2014). 
An individual with a high level of political awareness are less likely
to get influenced by certain negative views the media presents. WM16 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Bechmann, G., & Stehr, N.
(2011). Niklas
Luhmann’s Theory of the Mass Media. Society, 48(2), 142-147. doi:10.1007/s12115-010-9410-7WM17 

Clark, R. (2012). Bringing the Media in: Newspaper Readership
and Human Rights. Sociological

Inquiry, 82(4),
532-556. doi:10.1111/j.1475-682X.2012.00417.x

Huesmann, L. R. (2007). The Impact of Electronic Media
Violence: Scientific Theory and Research. The

Journal of Adolescent Health: Official Publication of the Society
for Adolescent Medicine, 41,
S6 13.

Johnson, T., & Kellstedt, P. (2014). Media Consumption
and the Dynamics of Policy Mood. Political

Behavior, 36(2),
377-399.

Luhmann, N. (2007). The
reality of the mass media. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Walum, L. R. (1975). Sociology and the Mass Media: Some major
problems and modest

proposals. American Sociologist, 10(1),
28-32.

Williams, R., & Ricciardelli, L. (2014). Social Media and
Body Image Concerns: Further Considerations and

Broader Perspectives. Sex Roles, 71(11-12),
389-392. doi:10.1007/s11199-014-0429-x