Effects of Mass Media on Young Generation –A Textual Analysis
4th, February 2013
The author of this article,” Effects of Mass Media on Young Generation” explains how the media today influences young people and shapes their world views, behaviors ,and values. He however, holds the assumption that the media is to blame for all the negative behavior of children and youth in society. Although the article emphasizes the negative influence of the media on the young generation, the author also identifies the little positive influence the media has on young people today. The author therefore, portrays the media as being “bittersweet,” as it is useful in society, but again misleading. Young people can therefore, be empowered, or damaged by the media (“Article base” 2008).
This article has a wide audience, including the young people, parents, teachers, the media personalities, media companies, among others. These can learn a few lessons from this article, as the role of media in society continues to raise concerns among different people today. The main purpose of the author in writing this article was to let the readers learn about the good and bad faces of the media in society. If the reader is a parent, they will learn how to regulate the exposure time of their children to the media, and probably filter the types of media, so that their children are only exposed to positive media.
The author has organized the article in a specific way to ensure there is flow of thought. He begins by posing a question to the readers, about what exactly is the cause of negative behaviors among the youth today. He then goes ahead to identify the approaches the media uses to attract young people to it, in order to gain viewership. The author afterwards, explains the negativities of the media in society, and finally discusses the positive side of the media. Although he does not use any sources in the article, the author still manages to make the article appear authentic. He does so by use of examples from real-life scenarios, to explain the influence of the media on society today. For instance, the author talks about how McDonalds uses cartoon characters in the advertisement of its hamburgers. By using real life situations in the media today, most of the readers of the article will identify with these, and understand the author’s objective quite easily. Use of these examples, also makes the reader to stop and think about other instances they are aware of in the media, which are probably a trap to attract more youth to the media programs. Generally, by using this technique, the author appeals to the readers to treat the media with a lot of caution (“Article base” 2008).
In order to support the claims made in this article about the influence of the media on the youth, the author uses the relationship between the manifest youth behaviors and specific media programs, to show that there is a linkage between the two, and that one affects the other. In this case, the media influences youth behavior. For instance, the author points out to the scenes of violence and murder in some television programs and films. Theses, according to the author, have influenced children and youth in a negative way, that has had detrimental effects in society today. The author assumes that the cases of shootings in schools by students in the United States, and instances in Britain, where older children kill innocent toddlers, are all an influence of the media. The article holds that, the media today has made death to be a simple issue, not as in the past, when death was a taboo topic. The common murder scenes in media programs have therefore, contributed to cases of killings by the youth in society, according to the author. This is a convincing language, which the author uses to make the reader understand his concerns and point of view about the media (“Article base” 2008).
The author claims that the media today targets the young people in society, as these make the majority of the population. He supports this assumption by pointing out that different companies spend a lot of money in refining their advertisements, and making them appear more appealing to the youth, who are the main targets. These advertisements, according to the author, are streamlined to fit into the contemporary culture of the youth, as they are created bearing elements of youth culture in them. The use of this example and proof is meant by the author to convince the reader that it is a fact that the media targets the youth in society, thus, making them ape much of what they see in the media, whether good or bad.
Although the article does well in convincing and appealing to the reader about the influence of the media to the youth, the author exhibits quite a number of biases in this article. From the article, a reader gets the idea that the media is solely responsible for all the bad incidences and negative behaviors portrayed by the youth today. The author has made this clear and obvious in the article, when he states that, “If a child bludgeons another child to death with a wrench or shoots a classmate, it is the violent TV programs that they watch which are to blame, not the parents or the supervisors. . .” (“Article base” 2008).To support this assumption, the author points out to the death and violence scenes in the media, especially in the cartoon programs, where characters are killed but later on are seen alive. In this case, the children have a wrong conception of death and think if they kill someone; the person cannot die forever, as seen in the cartoon programs. This author is biased in this area of his discussion, as he lays too much blame on the media. The parents, teachers, friends, and other members of the society might also influence the youth in a positive or negative way. Additionally, parents and teachers have the role of controlling the exposure of the youth to the media. This could be either through educating them on the benefits and harms of the media, or through helping them to choose only positive media, which they can learn from.
The author knows well that this article might face a number of objections from different readers. The main concern of the article is about the influence of the media on the youth. However, although the author explains and gives proof that the media has negative effects on the youth, he is keen to note that such claims do not go down well with the media houses. These have refuted claims that they are the cause of the youth’s negative behavior in society. Therefore, either the author seems to expect objection to this article, through the same media executives, or individuals affiliated to the media in different ways. However, the author leaves a challenge to the people who would object to this article, by asking why the media keeps spending millions in adverts, which are meant to attract the youth. If they were not interested in the youth, they would not be looking for ways of enticing them into their viewership. The author uses this technique to portray the level of deception in the media (“Article base” 2008).
To balance the discussion in the article, the author identifies the positive side of the media. The main positive thing the author identifies in the media is the creation of awareness among youth on topics that the society does not address in open. For instance, he gives an example of the issues surrounding the quota system, which the media had addressed publicly in the recent times. The media revealed all the injustices that were involved in the system, thus, bringing this information that would have never been known, to the public. The author also gives an example of the sex education debate. The media played a role in this decision by highlighting different facts of whether sex education should be taught in schools or not. Somehow, this got the public’s attention, thus increasing their awareness of the matter.
The author remains biased in his discussion about the positive effects of the media in society through creation of self-awareness among the people in society. The media has been responsible for revealing a lot of information, which could have never caught the attention of the public. The media has also addressed sensitive issues, such as sexuality. The author feels that sometimes the media goes overboard while addressing sensitive issues in society. This makes the author think, is wrong. From his argument, a reader might realize that the author takes his stance as a conservative Indian, who still upholds the values and standards of the indigenous Indian culture. He argues that his Indian values remain and that it is not right for the wave of westernization to take over the cultures of different regions, including India. To him therefore, the exposition of the overly sensitive issues in society by the media is an element of westernization, which he thinks is slowly taking root in other countries as well. He thinks that children should not be exposed to certain sensitive issues at an early age, as this is inappropriate (“Article base” 2008).
The author, in this article is seen to be imposing his Indian beliefs and standards on the readers. By speaking indifferently against westernization, he tries to make readers shun westernization and embrace their own original cultures. This is a disregard for cultural relativity, as the author still believes that his Indian culture, where taboo topics might be unacceptable, is far much better than westernization, which allows taboo topics in the media. Every culture is suitable for the people who practice it, therefore, no culture is better than the other. This is what the author fails to pay attention to. India is different from the western culture, basing on different factors, including their history. Therefore, if western countries discuss taboo topics publicly, it means they have adapted to that, maybe encourage that, and view it as beneficial to the young children, who will grow up as knowledgeable individuals.
In conclusion, I feel the author has brought out well the theme of this article, by addressing both the negative and positive influences of the mass media on the young generation today. While it is true that the media is to blame for the moral decadence of the youth in society today, it cannot bear the whole blame, as other factors, apart from the media, also contribute to moral decadence in society. The author has demonized mass media, and brought it out as something to be avoided at all cost, yet this is not the case. In addressing the positive side of the media, the author identifies only one benefit, and does not mention other many positive elements of the media. He still identifies flaws in the one positive element he had identified, and uses it to further criticize the media, including westernization. Nonetheless, this article, especially the criticism of the author toward the media, is based on the author’s preconceived views and values about westernization. He approaches his criticism from his Indian point of view, and tries to justify Indian values, while criticizing westernization, which is the root of mass media. Nonetheless, this article is enlightening and useful to especially parents, who learn from this that they should ensure that their children are exposed to positive media only, as it is true that there is danger in the media, especially among the young people, who are not wise enough to choose positive media, and disregard the negative media.
“Article base.” (2008). Effects of Mass Media on Young Generation. Retrieved 4 February 2013
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