In today’s society, the media has become an overwhelming and highly influential presence and, in the words of Elaine Napoli, “a contemporary factor in our everyday living”. Technology is constantly evolving and because of this, the media has more channels and accessibility than ever.
Although I accept the media as a very influential force, there are a number of factors to consider before blaming the media for all of societies faults. The media is constantly being held responsible for increasing levels of violence, laziness and anti-social behavior. For example, in 1993, when two-year old Jamie Bulger was abducted and brutally murder by two ten-year old boys the media and violent video games were accused by the masses to have influenced the actions of the killers. What was not widely recognized was the context of the killer’s home lives, which included family dysfunction, poverty, alcoholism, neglect and bullying.
In some cases, the media is blamed for societal dysfunction because they are the easiest culprit to blame. In the case of Alfred Bandura’s studies of Aggression he posed that watching violence’s promotes violence. The studies were carried out in a lab and involved children watching an adult hit, kick and abuse a Bobo Doll. When the children were then given a Bobo doll they exhibited the same behavior as the adults on TV. I do not credit this behaviour as violence caused by a media form, but merely impressionable children mimicking the figures that they traditionally learn their behaviour from- adults.
When learning about these case studies in our lecture, Myth Busting: ‘Television makes you fat’, I felt encouraged to inspect the underlying factors of a situation before jumping to conclusions and blaming the media as the culprit.
I have included further reading that I found interesting when considering the topic of this blog:
- Ten Things Wrong with the ‘Effects Model’ by David Gauntlett <http://www.theory.org.uk/effects.htm>
Napoli, E, Media in Today’s Society, 16.08.2009, viewed 16.03.2014 ,<http://elainenapoli.hubpages.com/hub/Media-in-Todays-Society>
Turnball, S, 2014, Myth Busting: ‘Television makes you fat’, lecture slides, BCM110, University of Wollongong, 11.03.2014.