Mass Media Influence on Youth
We are all active consumers of different kinds of information, the flow of which is continuously growing. Abundance of TV channels, websites on the Internet, a huge amount of video and audio production, newspapers and magazines – all these information has become an integral part of our lives.
Every morning we watch TV, read newspapers, on the workplace during lunch we are sharing the latest news in sport, fashion; talking about movies we saw with our colleagues. After work we again plunge into the world of mass media – TV, computer, radio. Can we imagine a specific time period, let`s say one week, during of which we will not be able to use any kind of mass media – no TV, no newspapers, no computers, no mobile phones? Not everyone would agree to do so since all our life - work, interests, hobbies are closely connected with media information. So, if we will think whether mass media has impact on us, we would definitely agree that it does – mass media is creating a specific “reality” around us, under influence of which we are forming our world outlook, values, preferences, etc. Hence, if even we, adults, are influences by mass media, what about our children? Nowadays, mass media, like all other means of communication, operates as a special filter by selecting, assembling, and interpreting all information. Information can be knowledge; can be valid depending on source it comes from. So, considering that information coming from mass media is not always justified and true, we cannot always rely on it. Hence, there is a problem arising – young people who do not understand or do not know that information can be misleading are tend to believe it and, moreover, get influenced by it. Now it is already admitted that all institutions that young people go through (kinder garden, school, college) have to teach them to think critically about information which comes from mass media.
The peculiarity of child`s perception is that they tend to repeat in their games and behavior everything they see around themselves. In other words, children are trying to imitate someone or something they see without understanding whether it is right, good or not. Hence, considering the amount of time children spend in front of TV and computer games, we have to be concerned. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under 2 years old not watch any TV and that those older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming. The consequences of hours-long watching TV and playing computer are well-known by everyone: eyesight deterioration, neurosis development, and both physical and mental degradation. Unfortunately, not always parents are able to draw away their kid’s attention from playing computer games or watching cartoons. As a result, sooner or later parents are faced with serious problems not only regarding the level of health, but also emergent video games addiction. Moreover, the rapid popularity growth of video games leads to considerable changes in students` spare-time. Spread of the video technologies and personal computers allowed students to satisfy their cultural, educational, and social needs domiciliary, basically, within their rooms. For instance, lots of video games, which are popular among young people, are extremely dynamic and interactive – while playing a child can change levels, characters, places by himself. In other words, the child has the impression that he/she is all-powerful: being in this virtual world, he is the “master”, who can be in control of everything, and rule the whole show. These are the reasons why children become addicted to video games and TV.
Now we should see which advantages and disadvantages mass media has in order to understand how big and how bad is its influence. From the first hand, playing computer games, surfing the internet, working with educational games, young people can find lots of advantages and possibilities. First, all these...
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