Zachary G. McLeod
Media Technology affects American Society
There are many forces and factors that shape the society of America. The media has a profound affect on how we perceive the world since it is controlled by others. Many of people come home and turn on the television. They zone out, and are bombarded with ads and TV shows that seem harmless but are harmful on a subconscious level. TV has become universal and affects everybody of all ages, religions, races, sizes, and sexes. There have been a number of recent studies that portray the negative affects of TV. Media, such as television, is a hindrance to America's society because it causes more violence, creates image problems and deteriorates self esteem, and induces stereotypes.
Television is detrimental to America's society because it causes more violence. A study conducted from 1960 to 1981, researchers "determined the amount of television watched at age eight predicted the seriousness of criminal acts for which they were convicted of by age thirty". When someone watches violent television at a young age, they become affected by it and start to mimic the behavior (Centerwall 1). Being surrounded by violent influences creates a different world that the viewer is trapped in. Stossel concludes that "a huge body of evidence-including 3,000 studies" have a strong correlation between television watching and aggression. The problem of violence can be traced to television (2). From the years 1945 to 1974, the U.S. homicidal rate rose 93 percent while in Canada it increased 92 percent. This might be due to other factors one might say; however, when statistics are compared to other countries who didn't have TV at those times like South Africa, white homicide rate dropped. When South Africa was finally introduced to the TV, crime rates "skyrocketed" (Stossel, Centerwall). There are other indications that linked TV to violence. Stossel says by the time an American child turns 12, he or she will have witnessed more than 8,000 murders and 100,000 violent acts (Stossel 4). This is unbelievable information because it is hard to imagine 8,000 murders and 100,000 violent acts- it's overwhelming. Over time, watching violent TV endorses violence and murder and becomes normality. A person will become desensitized to the consequences of violence. As I recall, I have probably seen a lot of murders on TV shows and movies. It is becoming more normal to sit and watch someone be killed. Even cartoons, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, provide a "sugar-coated" way to sneak violence into children's lives, but it's deemed as acceptable and normal to watch. However, the children, like sponges, absorb everything and try to mimic what they see and learn so it's important to monitor their surroundings. It's horrible for children to be influenced by such seemingly un-harmful shows. Stossel states, "90 percent of Americans think that violent television shows hurt society" (3). If almost everyone thinks that TV violence is a hindrance, then there should be some action to censor these shows from kids.
America's society is negatively affected by television because it creates image problems and deteriorates self esteem. Television uses brightly entertaining commercials that influence thinking using cheerful, slender, good looking actors. These actors are associated with products that have an inverse affect to what they portray. For example, a man eating a Big Mac is linked with the actor's handsomeness, healthy, happiness, style, and appeal. Subconsciously, the viewer is left to think those qualities might be obtained if he or she eats a Big Mac too. However, fast food is horrible for health, and is linked to obesity (Miller, Ward 64). The problem lies in the fact that we have people that buy products based on the false appeal that the product will bring them happiness when the actual intent of the product is the opposite. The ad relies on the...
Cited: Centerwall, Brandon S. "Television and Violent Crime." Public Interest 111 (Spring 1993): 56-71.
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