The 21st century is associated with mass communications and technological advancement that continues to change on a daily basis. Children in the contemporary society find themselves in this widely and highly influential and technologized society. The accessibility of the media has become both a blessing and a problem as well. The media educates and informs; however, it is also impossible to deny its debasing and corrupt nature as well. This paper is going to examine the influence of media on the life of individuals inside a family set up. This review will involve a minimum of 13 peer-reviewed and scholarly articles selected from the Google Scholar.
Media is known to educate and inform the family of the current things in the society (Couldry, 2000). It is not possible to know everything that happens throughout the day. Therefore, as Lull, (2014) explains, media combines everything together and brings to the people. According to Basta and Chatterjee (2001), media has become part of peoples lives in the contemporary society in which it is impossible to stay away from television, radio, mobile phones, newspapers, and computers. Statistics shows that in the year 2009, approximately 54% of households in the United States had access to 3 or more television sets (Lull, 2014, p. 4). The question one may ask is what the function of all these TV sets in a single house. Everyone nowadays has a phone and some have access to computers and tablets. All these aim at enhancing access to information from around the world. Today, no one needs to travel to buy a newspaper because they are available online. Students have become more advanced in learning as they find most of the learning materials available online. Apart from educating and informing, media has made it easier and simpler for the learners to complete their assignments because they can easily find the material they need online within a twinkle of an eye.
Research shows that most of the households with televisions have no rules (Lull, 2014). The fact that there are no rules makes it difficult to regulate what people watch and at what time people should be watching the televisions. Further, it is estimated that approximately 63% of families watch televisions during the dinner time (Lull, 2014). This is when everyone is in the family and they can find time to sit down as a family. However, approximately 51% of the households in the United States with television sets have not guidelines or rules to regulate how and when people should watch (Lull, 2014). Therefore, it is possible to find a child watching television when he/she remains at home while the parent and everyone else has gone to work. As Van den Bulk (2000) explain, the fact that media has become an integral part of our society makes its influences uncountable and unpreventable sometimes. The question of whether media is bad or good has been forgotten and people including parents in the family have been carried away by the new advancements in the media and technological world. Watching television without regulation may be addictive to the viewers. According to Boss (2014), watching television is not entirely bad; however, watching in excess is dangerous to the viewers mental development. Children still undergo cognitive development in which they acquire behaviors through the social interaction. The social interaction theory explains that the environment can significantly influence the behavior development (Hamilton, 1998, p. 8). Therefore, children should be watched closely so as to ensure that the contents that they watch are appropriate and beneficial to their cognitive development. As Payne (2000) explains, parents need to take part in their childrens lives. This according to scholars will give the parent an opportunity to regulate what the child sees and protect him/her from negative influences. Uncontrolled media access, especially by children, may be dangerous to their development (Roach, 2001, p. 7). Media influence is believed to be more indirect in the sense that children can be exposed to negative influences such as sexual contents in the advertisements. This, as a result, may expose them to other risks such as engaging in early sex that may further expose them to sexually transmitted disease (Roach, 2001, p.9).
As much as people continue to embrace the developments and advancements of media services, it is important to note debase and corrupt nature as well (McLeod et al., 1997, p. 153). Scholars argue that programs and content of televisions, video and films have become dangerous and destructive than helpful. Martin (1998) asserts that television programs portray a certain culture that may also be influential to the viewers. However, the influence may be negative or positive. Some of the programs may not need to be overtly violent or negatively oriented so that it can affect the family. Televisions may become addictive such that it turns the viewer lazy and incompetent. However, it is not only this influence that may affect the family, but also the perception that the viewer especially children obtain from these programs. Research shows that some of the characters that children develop may be highly influenced by the media which surrounds them in their day-to-day activities (Steyer & Clinton, 2003). For example, most of the television programs depict fathers and mothers appear weak and nonconformist to the societal traditions. This, as a result, may influence the perceptions that children grow with. Their beliefs may be distorted as they may grow with false expectations about life.
In conclusion, as we have seen and discussed in the body of this paper, media may be good and bad as well. With the rapid development of media services in the contemporary society, it is important to understand the influence that it may bring in our families. Distorting and changing childrens perception and giving them false expectations about life is among the key influences that media may cause inside the family. However, it is also informing and educating. All these aspects of influence may change the viewers perception and belief. It is, therefore, important to regulate and monitor the way people inside the family interact with the media so as to prevent any form of negative influence like false expectations, getting corrupt with the negative contents like sex-oriented advertisements or programs.
Basta, S. S., & Chatterjee, S. (2001). Culture, Conflict and Children. Journal of International Affairs, 55(1).Boss, P. (2014). Family stress. In Encyclopedia of quality of life and well-being research (pp. 2202-2208). Springer Netherlands.Cefrey, H. (2001). Coping with Media Violence. The Rosen Publishing Group.Chapman, G. (2001). The Effects of Violent Video Games on Children Are Exaggerated.
Couldry, N. (2000). The place of media power: Pilgrims and witnesses of the media age. Psychology Press.Gedatus, G. M. (2000). Violence in the Media. LifeMatters.Hamilton, J. T. (1998). Media violence and public policy. Television violence and public policy, 1-12.Lull, J. (2014). Inside Family Viewing (Routledge Revivals): Ethnographic Research on Television's Audiences. Routledge.Martin, G. (1998). Media influence to suicide: The search for solutions. Archives of Suicide Research, 4(1), 51-66.
McLeod, D. M., Eveland Jr, W. P., & Nathanson, A. I. (1997). Support for censorship of violent and misogynic rap lyrics: An analysis of the third-person effect. Communication Research, 24(2), 153-174.
Payne, J. (2000). Surveying the Effects of Media Violence. Media Violence Alert, 89-94.
Roach, T. J. (2001). The paradox of media effects. Media, Sex, Violence, and Drugs in Global Village. Lanham-NYOxford, 5-15.
Steyer, J. P., & Clinton, C. (2003). The other parent: The inside story of the media's effect on our children. Simon and Schuster.Van den Bulck, J. (2000). Is television bad for your health? Behavior and body image of the adolescent couch potato. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 29(3), 273-288.
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