The mass media has a great influence on people and especially on the younger generation. It plays an important role in shaping the opinions and positions of young people. Argue for or against this statement.
- Quynh Huong Ly
As communication technologies and platforms continue to advance and evolve, the mass media is increasingly becoming a more influential factor in modern society. It is a powerful tool that has a strong impact on the population as a whole and in particularly on the younger generation. In modern society, the mass media has the ability to shape both the opinions and positions of the younger generation who are more curious and can more easily be influenced. This can not only create new cultures, but can also change lifestyles to some degree by shaping opinions and positions. This essay will discuss the three major influences that the mass media has on the younger generations and their effects in supporting the statement “The mass media has a great influence on people and especially on the younger generation. It plays an important role in shaping the opinions and positions of young people”. Firstly, advertisements are changing young people’s views on beauty concepts and stimulate consumption. Secondly, the influences of social media platforms such as Facebook are shaping behaviour trends and lifestyles. Finally, music has shape emotions and a source of inspiration in creating new career ideas for the younger people.
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Nowadays, advertisements have great power to impact minds and create new habits amongst the younger generations. Large parts of their lives are connected with advertisements through various forms of media such as the radio, films and magazines. And according to Vitelli (2013) “Television, Commercials, and Your Child”, advertisers try to target young people by: concentrating on new products with special features, producing advertisements which are familiar with daily life so audiences do not realize they are watching commercials and making them lose the ability to distinguish between reality and the advertising that they are watching every day. More recently, with the development of more far reaching platforms of mass media, the thousands of messages about perfect the body images presented on posters and on television shows have re-shaped opinions on what is the ideal body shape for women. The powerful messages have made women obsessed with the new female body standards. Trying to fit into what is represented as attractive by the mass media, have caused stressed and have had a negative effect on some women, in particular the younger women who feel the need to comfort more. An example about the negative influences of advertisements on the young generations is building up their impossible expectations about attractive appearances by using luxury images of supermodels and celebrities, who they hope to look like (Wikipedia 2014). Therefore, teenagers tend to try keep their body thin through putting themselves on a diet, doing exercise or even getting cosmetic surgery while they are never satisfied with their bodies. In addition, it is suggested that using the dynamic beauty of young people for fast food advertising is also one of the causes of changing eating habits and rising obesity rates on the youth (Ashton 2004). In some cases, they are attracted by the advertisements when people with good shape, are eating fast foods and might think that it is healthy foods or even eating them will help to keep their bodies as good as in the advertisement.
The rates of obesity in children and youth have almost tripled in the last quarter century. Approximately 20% of youth are now overweight with obesity rates in preschool age children increasing at alarming speed (The impact of food advertising on childhood obesity 2014).
Although the role of advertising in modern society is undeniable because it is used to both introduce new products to the public and is the shortest way to motivate consumption, it is generally believed that advertisements have consequences on people’s mind, especially on the younger generations because advertisements generally have always exaggerated the truth, also changed the opinions and positions of young people.
In recent times, social networking sites have become more popular than ever, they also directly impact on behaviour of people, particularly on adolescents in what way as they decide how to connect each other and how to respect their relationships. Social networking sites have become a major revolution in society. There are a lot of advantages that can be associated with this, but an alarming tendency out of this, is that the young people seem to be more isolated in their own world and don’t learn how interact with society As a result, they gradually lose their communications skills and the intimacy of face-to-face interactions (Dakin 2014). ) In the past, face – to – face was the best way which people chose to communicate to each other. With the appearance of Facebook, peoples’ lives, minds and the behaviours of the youth have changed. Young people are highly addicted to Facebook as they spend a lot of time on the internet to update status, post on walls, and even whatever they make. This leads to them ignoring spending time with families or hanging out with friends in order for them to sit in front of computer screen to validate their importance in society. The number of “Likes” they have, the more this validates their confidence (Sameer 2011). In addition, the development of social networking is one of the reasons why the young people are becoming the narcissist. According to Harrington (2013), in “Hey you, it’s all about me”, the teenagers are documenting everything they do in their lives and posting selfies on social networking to get more attentions from others, and falling in love themselves. Young girls are more likely to be dissatisfied with their shape and weight, even if they are very healthy and balanced from this (Sameer 2011). For example, with the support of Photoshop technologies, the photos on Facebook are probably more attractive than the real life. This creates pressures on teen girls try to keep their appearances as perfect as the pictures on the internet. The revolution of social networking sites impacts strongly on the younger generations through changing their views about communications in a virtual world.
One product of the mass media that is a big influence on the youth is music, which deeply affects the lifestyles of teenagers, the controlling of emotions and building up personality on people. In modern society, there are many technologies such as iPhone, iPod which can effectively connect the youth to music where they go. It is believed that the young generations listen to music while they are eating, studying and sleeping. Therefore, music seems to play a special role in shaping their opinions and positions. The explosion of music videos on YouTube brings young people to a new fashion culture when they tend to copy images of their idols (Wixom 2013). For example, new fashion trends often approach the public through the superstars in their music videos. When the youth search and watch the videos on internet, they are easily attracted in styles of celebrities, so they try to dress or let their hair similarly to famous people and might think they look more attractively. Nowadays, there are young teenagers develop their music career in that way they produce videos, update them on online websites to share with people. If the music products were successful, they could become famous people even after one day. Actually they have made career decisions based on factors of the mass media. Consequently, benefits of music are inspiring and creating a lot of opportunities for the youth to make their dreams come true (Wixom 2013). Furthermore, the lyrics on music songs strongly influence on minds, emotions and behaviours of teenagers. The information on the internet is generally uncensored and young people also are supported by many search tools. Therefore, they can easily be impacted their spirit by the unconformable lyrics which can create rebellious tendencies or the early sexual awareness of young people (Holden 2014). For example, many songs are composed based on the love story and the events in real life. Although the messages on those songs might be given by the individual views, but they still have a great power. Especially, when young children listen to music constantly, they generally tend to react and think as lyrics in songs. As a result, they are aware of the problems in society very soon and grow up faster than their real old. Although the influence of music to young people with both negative and positive, but it is gradually becoming one of the determinants of behaviour and thinking of the younger generations.
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In conclusion, modern society has created a major mass media revolution with the help of the availability of all the new technologies available such as television, magazine, music, social media and the internet. This has given the mass media an enormous power in influencing the perceptions and lifestyles of the younger people. It could even be stated that the perceptions and lifestyles of the younger generations are mostly influenced by the information provided by the many forms of media, as they search based all decisions from the information provided on the internet. The internet is used for scientific information, entertainment and connecting friends. The ideas and views from the internet are usually derived from the masses, so they have both positive and negative, but young people are given the choice to see and believe what is of value to them. Therefore, they should choose the most appropriate approach in order to get the best value that the mass media are contributing to human. All things as above have proven the mass media shape opinions and positions of youth.
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