Media Role Models and the Effect on Children

Topics: Actor, SpongeBob SquarePants, Britney Spears Pages: 8 (3267 words) Published: May 5, 2006
Media construct our culture, and the media we use to communicate with one another shapes our perception of reality. Our society is centered on media, it is the most influential factor in constructing our culture, but is it a positive culture? If we examine the effect that media has on children, we can say that it breeds a harmful culture, one that throws values and morals out the window. This is because the media is profit driven and has developed its own code of ethics of "anything-goes". As a result, children are exposed to things that they should not necessarily be exposed to yet and as a result it rushes their mental development and in fact moulds their mentality. This is a scary fact because these children's minds are susceptible to the trickery of those who run the media. With the media luring in the children, they are able to sell their own value system to the kids through actors, cartoon characters, and even musicians who are puppets in the media's propaganda. They in turn tend to become role models to the kids and can influence the children and manipulate their behavior, their fragile minds, and value system as they try to emulate their Role Models. Developmental psychology and children's marketing have a long history of close alignment, so media personalities such as actors, musicians and cartoon characters play a major role in shaping a child's mindset, and with the kind of images that these people portray it is not necessarily the best type of thing that we should expose children to. First of all we must understand why these media personalities appeal to children, what makes them so popular and why children emulate them. All children from the ages of 12 and under, and teenagers all try to fit in with different social groups of other children, in essence they all try to be ‘cool' so that they would be liked and accepted into the social group by other kids. All children have their insecurities of not being liked and accepted by others, so they try to be cool, and with the media being the major factor that shapes our culture, it too creates the definition of cool. Children, through the media are subjected to unremitting pressure to conform to the market's definition of cool. Those in charge of the cartoons, films and music, create this definition of cool; they are the ones who turn these actors who are normal people into popular icons and superstars who are idolized by the public, in this case children. Because the media is profit driven those in charge try to create a demand for their products, which are their movies, cartoons or music, so they employ all kinds of techniques to sell their products to their target market, which happens to be children. So these people in charge of the media houses, the broadcast stations, record labels, and movie producers must make their product appeal to the children using a variety of techniques. They cannot have their actors, cartoon characters or musicians seem like regular people like you and me, they have to turn them into Gods, so that children who have not yet developed critical minds would idolize them, look up to them, and strive to be just like them. One technique that the executive bodies in charge of the media personalities utilize to make them appeal to children is to play off of their insecurities of not being accepted or fitting in with other kids. This is a widely used technique in the media industry employed by everyone who tries to sell a product, they try to make you feel inadequate and that your life would be better if you purchased their product, in the case with children, this is done by trying to sell them ‘cool'. The people who promote the media personalities try to make them appear cool to children, who would then emulate them on the grounds that they have the cool factor that they themselves lack and need to fit in with others. Once the media bodies are able to catch a child by hooking them on one of their cartoons, movies, or music...
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