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Should The Government Restrict The Media Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 1432 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Media has become a powerful tool, which substantially influences the public opinion. The impact of media has a significant and dangerous effect among the audience, particularly on youth. In such cases, media has the power to influence the formation of the individual’s identity, moral values and beliefs. In fact, media affects the entire society because today it is everywhere. However, government should only intervene in certain areas as a means of security purposes. As we now, modern media can be a kind of communication often used by many people, thus ignoring the risks that this might involve. Media can be spread by television shows, cartoons, video games, alcohol and tobacco advertisements, and other forms of media such as internet. All of these can have a great impact on the lives of children without any doubt. The media plays an important role in today’s society as far as to inform the people, although it has created a wide range of different point of views among the population; some, opposing to placing limits on media content on behalf of children’s protection and others claiming that these restrictions violate freedom of speech.

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When it comes to television shows, the concern of people has been excessively on the rise because of the frequent violent content that the media portrays in a daily basis. Some take it too far due to their humor, profane language, and violence such as Family Guy. Those who have seen the show would agree that Family Guy it’s the least kid-friendly cartoon out there. The show caused great controversy when just recently mocked Sara Palin and her son who has Down syndrome. Although, the episode did not make fun of Sara Pailin directly, it created a large controversy among people, especially for her family, thus, provoking Pailin’s oldest daughter to respond to the matter on Facebook: “If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they’re heartless jerks.” In addition, allegations of anti- religious sentiments and insensitivity towards transgender people have been negatively criticized for its simplistic quality of animations in such program. Other shows have also been fearless when it comes to attacking anyone or anything.

Alcohol and tobacco advertisements should not be permitted on prime time TV because many children and teenagers are watching television at this time. By showing this commercials on prime time, youth is been manipulated into believing that this behaviors are socially acceptable, which is obviously wrong. Many children watch television alone without adult supervision which can help them understand that these are bad habits and that there is consequences to it. These types of commercials make alcohol and tobacco seem as something cool and a lot of kids may feel tempted to try these. Advertisement works, otherwise companies would not spend millions of dollars on ads and on celebrity endorsers to do these commercials which have shown to be effective with children and adolescents. Children especially, are very vulnerable to this kind of advertising and it sends them a negative message about what is right and healthy for them. If at all, the advertising of these products should be restricted to late night hours when the older crowd can be reached. According to the 2009 Monitoring the Future study, ” nearly half of all teenagers have tried smoking, as have 20% of all 8th-graders. (Strasburger, 2010). Cigarette advertising seems to increase teenagers’ risk of smoking. By contrast, many studies have revealed that exposure to alcohol advertising results effective on adolescents drinking and that this can be a sign of early drinking.” [1] 

There have been many different views about video games and the effects of violence on children and society as a whole. The reasons are that this serves as an unintelligent and harmful medium of entertainment. Parents are concerned that kids can confuse fantasy from reality. Children are more prone to violence and video games can leave them with an image that destruction and violence itself are something good. When they are introduced to such games they need to fully understand the concept that what is happening in the game is not real and that they do not need to go around doing whatever the game is showing. For example, the grand theft auto game teaches children how to go and steal a car. That is in no way educational or the right thing to teach a young kid. Also, the violence and language is very graphic in “call of duty”, curse words are spoken out loud when kids do not need to hear that type of language. Video games can be harmful and may show children an unrealistic world; however, some people argue that these can teach valuable skills that can be used in their everyday life and that video games can help children develop great self-defense.

On the other hand, cartoons can have a long-term negative effect on children. It is common now to see young little boys pretending to shoot one another while jumping on the bed or hiding behind a door to make it more believable. Also, when a kid sees their favorite character hitting and beating up the bad guy in the cartoon they learn these behaviors too and because cartoons fail to show the consequences of these behavior’s children think that it is an acceptable way of solving problems. These behaviors are learned from cartoons and kids will want to imitate them. Violence is a learned behavior and therefore children need to see it on order to learn it. Until the government decides to restrict media content, parents need to step in and monitor their children’s viewing; educate and protect them from the harmful effects of these cartoons.

Other than being harmful and violent, cartoons tend to take away precious time from children. Now, kids spend more time with their eyes glued to the TV as opposed to being physically active which could be unhealthy for them and also affect their eye sight. “In 1999 a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the average child between the ages of 8 and 18 spent 6 hours and 43 minutes each day with media, more time than they spent in school, with parents or involved in any activity other than sleep. (Donne, 2011). Television dominates the free time of children and reduces their involvement in other activities.” [2] In addition, the study has also found that physical education activities have declined and that children are spending less time playing outdoors.

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Lastly, internet should also be restricted as this can be accessed by anyone at any time. Many people do not realize the dangers involved when children go on the internet. They could be exposed to pornographic or vulgar content and become traumatized as a result. When searching the web, kids can come across sexual predators without actually knowing how sick and harmful this people can be. Kids can be talked into doing things and who knows what the consequences will be. Moreover, young kids are a lot more exposed to videos and or images of death and can also be tempted into going into inappropriate pages that could result disturbing and hard to handle. Now, Should the government restrict the media? Yes, if necessary for security of the country and its people. The government is responsible for keeping a healthy environment not only for kids, but for people in general.

As Americans we take pride in that we can say, read and think whatever we want with few limitations. This right is guaranteed to us in the First Amendment of the U.S constitution which states that the government is prohibited from making any law “abridging the freedom of speech” and “infringing on the freedom of the press.” However, it provides not protection to obscenity, child pornography, violence and language that can harm children. All of these should be fully protected in the First Amendment, thus allowing the government to put restrictions in order to protect children. But, since an Amendment cannot be changed once ratified, alternative measures should be taken to protect our young ones by monitoring harmful material.


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