Mass Media and Its Influence
Spoken, written, or broadcast communication whose medium may include television, radio, advertising, movies, newspapers, magazines, books, cell phones and the Internet becomes a mass media that affects our society's perception of ourselves and others and influences the structures of our society as well as the reactions of the individual. Americans perceive the political, economic, class, educational, and other structures of American society because of, by, and through the media. The American understanding of these structures within its society as well as those structures outside of the United States are manipulated and directed by the media. Similarly, the media influences the perceptions of individuals within American society by what and how the media is communicating. The media communicates and influences through the key motivators of our society today: sexual, monetary, and violent images.
The most widespread form of this communication media is television, followed by the Internet. With the increased use of computers and multi-media cell phones, the Internet is on the road to exceeding the television as a communication media. How these media venues affect the world in which they operate shows how far and how deep the communications can reach, the speed in which the messages are delivered and accepted, the cultural impact that is experienced. Media has converted individual communication into group communication and has allowed for wonderful advances in civilization. Through mass communication, people groups, organizations, governments, and nations have found the media for the spread of information in business and industry, education, politics, technology and science, medicine and healthcare, weather and climate, and all levels of culture. It is in technology that the media's most obvious advancements are visible. In addition, the widespread distribution of information has allowed the world to respond to natural disasters, political oppression and exploitation, and in mass multi-national cultural events.
In the area of culture, sex is not only a physical motivation in individuals, both male and female; it is also psychological motivation of people. Although, people express it in different cultures differently, the basic human need for sexual expression is one of basics of marketing and advertisement. It motivates sales and sales are best motivated in mass fashion for mass return on investment in massive profits via mass media. All forms of media use the basic instinct to identify a product for sale and manipulate the individual's perception to cause him or her to identify their individual sexuality with the product. Everyone wants to be sexy, attractive, wanted, desirable, in demand, and therefore, powerful. People will buy whatever they believe or perceive will provide this to them. Similarly, another motivator of power is violence. Whether the perpetrator-the inflictor, or the violated-the victim, there is no doubt about how powerful violence is. It also motivates sales indirectly through the marketing and advertisement of products supporting violent venues such as horror and R-rated films and television shows, sporting events such as boxing, wrestling, and football, war coverage, and the 11 o'clock news shows. The mass media clearly shows that violence motivates power and power motivates violence.
The most vulnerable segment of society to the images and messages of mass media are America's youth. Young people are in a stage of life where they want acceptance by their peers, they want to be desired and loved, and they hope to be successful and powerful. They also seek to explore and express some of the same human motivations as the mature citizen: sex, violence, and power. The children and teenagers of America find all of these elements on the TV. In fact, as Arthur Asa Berger states, "the amount of time young people spend "media multi-tasking" has increased...
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