The Influence Media Has on Society
Media is one of the largest influences on a young individuals interpretation of the world. The influential power of television, internet, radio, and print is creating negative results in society. As technology increases, so do the problems associated with media. Media plays an integral part of American culture and is a valuable source of teaching. But some of what is taught is non-conducive to an individuals well-being. Youth are becoming desensitized to the violence they see. Sex, drugs, and violence are glorified. Not only are sexuality and violence a problem, there is a deterioration of the emotional, intellectual, and physical health of the nation.
Positive media does exist. Although it is harder to find, educational programming and some internet sites offer alternatives to the constant bombarding of sex, drugs, violence, and unhealthy information. By taking an initiative parents can use the media to open communications with their children; helping them to discern the negative influences media presents. While Sesame Street may encourage learning, it is merely a substitute for parent to child interaction. The idea of forgoing personal interaction with a child can lead to a habit of not interacting. While appropriate stimuli — close interaction with loving caregivers; an enriched, interactive, human language environment; engrossing hands-on Mendez 2
play opportunities; and age-appropriate academic stimulation -- enhance the brain's development, environments that encourage intellectual passivity and maladaptive behavior (e.g., impulsivity, violence), or deprive the brain of important chances to participate actively in social relationships, creative play, reflection and complex problem-solving may have irrevocable consequences(Healy). When a child outgrows educational programming the parent has often times become dependent on the television as a “babysitter.” Though the opportunity is available, many parents do not utilize taking time with their child to establish media literacy or open communications. By the time a child is ready to talk about critical issues, he/she has been exposed to numerous scenes on television. The information a child needs to make decisions has likely been provided., through inadequate knowledge and misinformation provided by forms of media.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children spend over 21 hours per week watching television(Understanding the Impact of Media). This does not include the time spent playing video games, watching movies and videos, listening to music, or using a computer. Combined, these forms of media take up more time than schooling. All of the time spent engaged in media takes away from physical recreational activities. Not much time is left for riding a bike, exercising, or stimulating creativity through exploration. Media consumption is a sedentary activity that contributes to an increase of obesity. While physical activity leads to an increase in energy levels, media consumption causes a decrease in energy. Childhood obesity has shown to be attributed to the increased television use (Media Education).
In children under two, television offers nothing to stimulate the intellectual or social development of the child (Shute). Neuroscientists have shown that environmental experiences significantly shape the developing brain because of the plasticity of its neuronal connectivity. Thus, repeated exposure to any stimulus in a child's environment may forcibly impact mental and emotional growth, either by setting up habits of mind or by depriving the brain of other experiences(Healy). Several studies have documented a link between television exposure and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Shute). Even aside from violent or overly stimulating sexual content, the fast-paced, attention-grabbing "features" of children's programming (e.g., rapid zooms and flashes of color, quick movement...
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