Ipact of Media on Different Age Groups

Topics: Mass media, Media influence, Media Pages: 13 (2346 words) Published: October 13, 2010
Television can be a powerful entertainment and education tool for children given the right programming. However, studies have shown that television, and media in general, can also have a very negative influence. Some studies indicate it can shorten attention span, distort body image, work in conjunction with other factors to escalate obesity, create fear, and increase aggressive and anti-social behaviors if exposure is unmonitored and unlimited.  

The influence of media on children extends to health related issues. Although television has the power to educate on nutrition, exercise, and a wide variety of health related issues, it can also be a negative force through images and advertisements which influence viewers to make poor food choices or to overeat.  

In addition, excessive television viewing can result in inactivity which further contributes to excessive weight gain and poor fitness levels.  
Children are specifically targeted by some advertisements and are even more vulnerable than adults to their influence. Adults must assist children in questioning and thinking critically about the messages they see on TV.  

Limiting television viewing time and encouraging physical activity are precautions that parents should consider.  
Media Influence on Women's and Girl's Body Image:
The influence of media on children also extends into how we view ourselves and others. Television shows portray women in a certain way. Generally focusing primarily on their attractiveness; or at least Hollywood's version of it.  

These images from movies, television, and all kinds of advertisements bombard women; often with the effect of creating an unattainable image in their minds of how they should appear. Anorexia, bulemia, low self-esteem and a host of other problems can result. These images of course, can also effect the expectations that men have regarding how women "should" behave and look.  

Talking with young girls about the images they see and giving them better role models can be important.  
The influence of media on children also effects how kids perceive what is and is not acceptable. Smoking is an example. When celebrities and role models are depicted smoking; it appears to be a normal and acceptable behavior. So to with drug use, drinking, cell phone use when driving, physical violence, and so forth.  

Parental role modeling, the behavior of peers, and other factors play into this as well, but the effect of media is indeed strong.  
Certainly, the media often portrays men as aggressive, women as passive. In addition, women are often portrayed with a focus on their beauty and sexuality. (or perhaps their homemaking skills) These images, often repeated, can influence how both women and men feel women should not only look, but also how they should behave.  

We are all susceptible to the messages we see in the media, but the influence of media on children is particularly powerful. Many of our basic beliefs are formed in our early years and media can hold sway if not monitored and regulated by parents.  

Per Wikipedia, consumerism is the "equating of personal happiness with the purchasing of material possessions and consumption." Nearly all forms of media are filled with both overt and subliminal messages encouraging us to buy.  

Academic experts have attributed depression, anxiety, and other emotional maladies with consumerism. It is said by some to be leading us to a social/financial catastrophy, and certainly even religious leaders have seriously challenged the value of our consumer based culture.  

Reports have indicated that many families in the US have their TV on an average of 6 � hours per day potentially giving their TV a stronger foothold in a child'seducation than their school teacher. According to The Sourcebook for Teaching Science, the average child...
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