EFFECTS OF MASS COMMUNICATIONINTRODUCTION: How much we are realizing about the effects of mass media today? I do not think thatwe are realizing much, I mean we know some points but we are just ignoring that because it hasalready been part of our life. You can often see a world where media can control and alterhuman life. With the rise of mass society and the rapid growth of the mass media starting in thenineteenth century, the public, media critics, and scholars have raised questions about theeffects various media might have on society and individuals. Whether the issue is online hategroups, televised violence, the absence of minority characters in prime-time televisionprogramming, or a decline in the quality of political discourse, the topic of the effects of masscommunication is – and has always been – hotly debated. Lively controversy centers on the effect of mass communication upon audiences, notonly in matters concerning public opinion on political issues but in matters of personal lifestylesand tastes, consumer behavior, the sensibilities and dispositions of children, and possibleinducements to violence. Feelings regarding these matters vary greatly. Some people construethe overall effects of mass communication as generally harmless to both young and old. Manysociologists follow the theory that mass communication seems to influence attitudes andbehavior only insofar as it confirms the status quo—i.e., it influences values already acceptedand operating in the culture. We chiefly watch and read what we already like; we interpret it tofit our existing beliefs; and we will more quickly forget the bits we do not enjoy. To assume that public communication is predominantly reflective of current values,morals, and attitudes denies much common experience. Fashions, fads, and small talk are tooobviously and directly influenced by material in the press, in films, and in television to supportthis view. Present evidence indicates that various instruments of mass communication producevarying effects upon different segments of the audience. These effects seem too numerous andshort-lived to be measured effectively with currently available instruments. Understanding the effects of media on individuals and society requires that we examinethe messages being sent, the medium transmitting them, the owners of the media, and theaudience members themselves. The effects can be cognitive, attitudinal, behavioral, andpsychological.
DISCUSSION: The effects of mass communication– media impact on violence, the use of drugsand alcohol, the nature of our political process, and stereotyping. Why was violent crime rising?It must be the fault of the media. Why was politics being "trivialized"? Because the growth ofpolitical television personalized it. Why did the working class refuse to ditch reformistgovernments? Because of the bourgeois media.VIOLENCE: No media effects issue has captured public legislative and industry attention as has therelationship between media portrayal of violence and subsequent aggressive behavior.Prolonged exposure to gratuitous violence in the media can escalate subsequent hostilebehaviors and, among some viewers, foster greater acceptance of violence as a means ofconflict resolution. Many children today spend more time consuming media than they spend attendingschool, or in any other activity except for sleeping. By “media” we mean any form of masscommunication such as → television, → Internet, video and computer games, comic books, and→ radio. Violence is a dominant theme in most forms of media. By “violence” we mean anextreme act of physical aggression, such as assaulting another person. The correlation between media violence and aggression is only slightly smaller than thatbetween smoking and lung cancer. Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, and noteveryone who gets lung cancer is a smoker. But even the tobacco industry agrees that smokingcauses lung cancer. Smoking is not the only factor that causes lung cancer, but it is an importantfactor. Similarly, not everyone who watches violent media becomes aggressive, and noteveryone who is aggressive watches violent media. Watching violent media is not the onlyfactor that causes aggression, but it is an important factor. The smoking analogy is useful in other respects. Like a first cigarette, the first violentmovie seen can make a person nauseous. Later, however, one craves more and more. Theeffects of smoking and viewing violence are both cumulative. Smoking one cigarette probablywill not cause lung cancer. Likewise, seeing one violent movie probably will not turn a personinto a psychopathic killer. However, repeated exposure to both cigarettes and violent mediacan have harmful consequences. Catharsis is the notion that we can dampen our negative emotions by acting them out orwitnessing them in our arts and entertainment—and that this is a healthy thing to do. Indeedthere is evidence that indulging our anger and aggression can increase—not decrease—those
destructive emotions. Even so, a lot of people still believe in catharsis. They believe thatpummeling punching bags and watching Fight Club and cursing at the universe is cleansing. Does catharsis cleanse our souls as Aristotle suggests? That’s a debatable point that sitsat the heart of today’s arguments on whether watching violent television begets violentbehavior. Platonic thought suggested we had to be careful since extreme emotionalexperiences might prompt extreme emotional living, including behaving in immoral or unethicalways. Aristotle instead argued that through catharsis, we emerged purified and less likely to actextremely or immorally. It’s interesting to note that this debate, which is so ancient, is stillbeing fought on many levels in modern society. Many researches show that belief in catharsisincreased the appeal of violent games in angry people. People’s mistaken beliefs aboutcatharsis may really be a problem. If people seek out violent video games as a way of letting outtheir anger, their actions may have the opposite effect from the one they expected. In this case,then, ignorance is not bliss. Our children are enormously influenced by the media, not only in their decisions andactions, but also in their behaviors. Unfortunately the large amount of exposure to media hasnegative effects towards our society, especially towards children and teenagers; one of themost serious effects is desensitization to violence. The media violence does affect children’s behavior, attitudes and values. As we all knowtoday, children’s desensitization to violence has increased numerously, especially in the pastfew years.Desensitization refers to reduced responsiveness to actual violence caused byexposure to violence in the media. Desensitization may arise from different sources of mediaincluding TV, video games and movies. Violence can prime thoughts of hostility with thepossibility of affecting the way we perceive others and interpret their actions. Research showsthat initial exposure to violence in the media produces a number of aversive responses such asincreased heart rate, fear, discomfort, perspiration and disgust. However, studies conductedshow that prolonged and repeated exposure to violence in the media reduces or habituates theinitial psychological impact until violent images do not elicit these negative responses.Eventually the observer becomes emotionally and cognitively desensitized to media violence. Children not only learn by observing and imitating what is in the media, but they alsocome to terms with violence as an acceptable way to settle conflicts and desire to watch evenmore violent movie and play even more dreadful video game, where players are rewarded forthe amount of people killed. On December 30th, 2006 just about anyone was sitting in front of the computer screenwatching the execution of Saddam Hussein’s Video, where his own death was recorded andposted all over the world for people to see, not only adults, but also children were possible to
see a death of a human being just by a click away. Our media makes us so desensitized, that itnot only no more troubles us to see a dead body, but also we immediately try to look for themon the internet so we have something to talk about over lunch with friends. Unfortunately, theinternet is limitless and anyone can post, publish and visit practically anything. Of course thereare websites that make you put your birth date to be able to enter, but people are not stupid,they can figure out what year makes them legal. And what about the Virginia Shooting Massacre, can people say it not only troubled themto see images of tens of students being dragged death but everyday increasingly people wantedmore information about the shootings, and student’s killer. Isn’t it enough to see it once? No,people want increasingly more violence! Still people today, try to blame something; usually it is violent videogames that areblamed for everything, “If the killer didn’t play video games…” is what we usually hear frompeople. Sadly, violent video games are just a small percentage of the whole reality that makesus desensitized. Violent video games may be the reason for the Virginia Shooting Massacre in2007 or the Columbia High School tragedy in 1999. In reality, the thing, which is to blame foreverything is the media, which makes us desensitized to violence. The everyday images of dead bodies in the movies, newspapers, magazines, on videogames, television, radio and even more to mention, those are the real reasons for the violenttragedies. Our society becomes so over mediated, that it no more troubles us to see a deadhuman body on the television. Due to the Hollywood over-emphasis of violence on regular basiswe are so desensitized, it is no longer wrong to kill others. In movies we are even sorry andmake excuses for the killer not the victims. And violent video games make us feel glorified andexcited, when human blood is splashed all over the wall. Or am I the only one who wasn’texcited, when watching the Lord of the Rings movie, where hundreds of viewers were clappingwhen an actor cut off the head of a horrible monster, where the blood splashed all over theplace? So why only blame video games? Yes, of course we score points for the most deadbodies,but in the movies and on television, we no longer cry because an actor has been killed and weno longer believe it is wrong. We only sit and watch, sometimes even laugh. Today our childrenare not only desensitized by seeing violence on television and on the Internet, but violence hasbecome popularity, we could maybe imagine the word violence as a hero and model towardsour children. Popular Wrestling matches are another source of violence in the media, whichdesensitize our society. Children and teenagers not only watch horrible matches, whereopponents are risking their life, but they are also entertained by the most awful moves seen.
Our media needs to be changed; media violence needs to be limited not only in violentvideo games but also in movies and television.DRUGS AND ALCOHOLS: Concern about media effects reaches beyond the issue of violence. The claims andcounterclaims surrounding media portrayals of drugs and alcohol parallel those of the violencedebate. How drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are portrayed on television, in movies, in songs, and inother forms of media?Media containing scenes or conversations about these substances canaffect drinking, smoking, and illicit drug use, especially among children and young adults. Someorganizations are trying to reduce or eliminate the appearance of these substances in themedia. They also encourage actors, musicians, writers, and producers to portray substance usein a realistic—not a glamorous—way. Alcohol portrayals are relatively common on television, in film, and in music videos.These portrayals are largely positive or neutral, often associating drinking with positiveconsequences or desirable attributes. Negative consequences of drinking are rarely portrayed.Only a few studies have investigated the effects of exposure to alcohol portrayals in popularmedia. Generally, the findings from these studies are mixed and inconclusive. Overall, the research on the effects of alcohol advertising also presents mixed andinconclusive findings. With some notable exceptions, experimental and ecological studies haveproduced little or no evidence that alcohol advertising affects drinking beliefs, behaviors, orproblems among young people. Alcohol advertising and young people consistently indicate thatthere are small, but significant, correlations between awareness of and affect toward alcoholadvertising and drinking beliefs and behaviors among young people. Children and adolescentswho are more aware of and favorably disposed to alcohol advertisements hold more favorablebeliefs about drinking, intend to drink more frequently as adults, and drink more frequently andin larger quantities than other young people. Alcohol advertising may predispose young people to drink or the opposite may be trueinstead. That is, young people who are favorable toward drinking may seek out informationabout alcohol and thus be more attentive to alcohol advertisements. Central to the concept of credibility is whetherthe mass media are seen to be unbiasedin theirpresentation of issues. There are several aspectsworth exploring that could call intoquestion theneutrality of mass media when reporting alcoholrelated issues. These are thefollowing:
(1) Acceptance of alcohol advertising, which is asource of considerable income for newspapersandtelevision, may have a profound influence on theportrayal of alcohol-related stories;(2) The possibility that media conglomerates have a financialstake in companies operating inthe beveragealcohol industry or vice versa;(3) The drinkingpatterns of journalists. Taking these points into consideration, it wouldseem possible that the mass mediamight play animportant role in portraying alcohol in a biased fashion. The one single factor that will influence whether kids use alcohol and tobacco is theirparents. And the less role parents have the more impact other influences have, like the media.Don’t people have fun in alcohol ads? And they make a big impression on your kids. Alcohol adshave become entertainment in their own right. One of the most popular plot lines for teenmovies is scoring alcohol for a party. There are even mobile apps centered on drinking. It’snearly impossible to undo all this influence, but you can try to balance it with honestdiscussions about drinking and by keeping an eye on what’s influencing your kids.GENDER AND RACIAL/ETHNIC STEREOTYPING: Stereotyping is the application of a standardized image or concept to members ofcertain groups, usually based on limited information. Because media cannot show all realities ofall things, the choices media practioners make whenpresenting specific people and groups maywell facilitate or encourage stereotyping."There are three characteristics of stereotypes: 1. People are categorized on the basis of very visible characteristics e.g. race, nationality, sex, dress and bodily appearance 2. All members of a particular group are assumed to have the same characteristics 3. Anybody who is seen to belong to a particular group will therefore automatically be assumed to have the same characteristics of the group." Stereotypes are usually negative attitudes which people use to justify discrimination ofconflict against others. Stereotyping acts as a barrier to communication because people makepre-conceived judgment about people which are unfounded if their character does not relate totheir appearance. Ethnic stereotypes encourage racism. Mass communication is very important towards understanding stereotypes. Masscommunication has been defined as a symbolic transmission. The mass media today forms a
major source of material for our stereotypical images of different groups of people. In dramaand fiction, the stereotype is a valuable tool of communication because it arouses certainexpectations. We can predict how a character will behave and feel satisfied when ourpredictions are fulfilled. We can also be surprised when a character behaves in a way whichtotally differs from what we expect. In advertising stereotyping is a powerful weapon used tosell products. Perhaps the image reminds us of an ideal lifestyle and suggests that we canachieve that lifestyle by buying the product. Or the advert contains a stereotype which we canidentify and implies that we must purchase the product in order to conform to type. Use ofsuch an image allows the advertiser to communicate a large amount of material in condensedform. Stereotypes give power to mass communicators who can sustain differences betweengroups for their own gain. When a television program is shown, different people with different ideas watch, so themass communicators may use stereotypical images so people can define and associate with thecharacter. Stereotypes and interpersonal communication are important to mass communication,particularly television. There have been concerns about the way in which television inflicts aclass bias on our perception of the world and reality. But it is also claimed that televisionrepresents genre of artistic performance. They structure a viewer’s way of perceiving, ofmaking a connection and following a television story line. The impact of new models can be seen as icons can lead to liberation, conversions andrebellious attitudes. I believe that some people are strong minded enough to make their owndecisions and do not let the mass media influence them. While there are weak minded peoplewho will follow fads and believe in the mass media and the stereotypical images that theyrepresent. Stereotypes can easily lead to prejudice. Some prejudice is inevitable in a multi groupsociety. Some prejudices present real dangers, feeding bitter struggles between races,economic groups, sexes and religions. It is important to combat prejudice, there are a numberof ways in which this can be achieved e.g. negative stereotypes in mass communication can beeliminated and bringing people together. Put the people together in situations where they canlearn more about each other and develop lasting relations. Ever since the emergence of mass communication, the media has been facing a problem ofstereotyping in sending information across. Although stereotyping has its origin from ordinaryhuman communication and the chronic problem which mankind is finding difficult to ward off,it has been strengthened particularly by the media of mass communication over the years.
Media stereotypes are some time inevitable, especially in the advertising, entertainmentand news industries, which need as wide an audience as possible to quickly understandinformation. Stereotypes act like codes that give audiences a quick, common understanding ofa person or group of people--usually relating to their class, ethnicity or race, gender, social roleor occupation ¬ true or false is left on the people who receive the information.As we get closeto understanding the mass communication in its various forms, it is pertinent to mark thispeculiar area which is widely in practice in news, views, scripts, TV/ radio shows and, honestly,in common remarks on mass media. The stereotyping in communication, which has its origin in printing process, is a globalphenomenon and hurting the mass media alike all over. The preconceived assumption aboutpeople or group of people in the form of nationality, ethnicity and cast and in business mattersis holding strong ground in communication and the experts are still striving to get out of thismenace. One solution is to make media people aware of it so that its usage may be reduced.POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS AND VOTING: Media impact on political campaigns and voting was at the center of some of masscommunication’s earliest research. The conclusion drawn from the early work was that mediahad little direct impact on campaigns and voting and, when and if they did, that the impact wasin the form of reinforcement. An important development in contemporary thinking aboutmedia and campaigns was agenda setting. Agenda setting was used to explain how media caninfluence campaigns and voting. Media helped set the issue agenda for the campaign, and thatagenda dictated the issues on which many people ultimately based their voting decisions. Content-free political campaigns, coupled with the increase in negative campaigncommercials created an apathetic and alienated public, rather than the involved and informedcitizens necessary for democracy. The public often complaints about shoddy campaigncoverage and negative ads, yet thegreat majority identify television – often seen as the primeculprit in encouraging both phenomena – as its primary source of public affairs information. Media critics blame contemporary news for increasing levels of apathy and ignoranceamong the electorate. The amount of policy-oriented information in news coverage ofpresidential campaigns has declined and the level of news consumption has fallen. Many citizens have a visceral reaction to political attack advertisements on television:Nothing will prompt a faster change of channel. But they are difficult to escape during electionseason.From a historical perspective, it is worth considering, too, that increased news mediafocus on negative advertising itself has helped accelerate this trend, creating a vicious cycle ofattack politics driven by political consultants and journalists.
Although people consider negative campaign advertising unethical, uninformative,deceptive, ad lacking in credibility, research indicates that negative campaigns are morememorable than positive one, and voters’ decision making is influenced to a greater degree bynegative than by positive campaign information. Negative campaign might ultimately damagedemocracy, and voters declare they want better from their candidates, but candidates want towin. This situation has given rise to a number of proposals for improvement.Primary amongthem is campaign reform. Because the media have become essential to modern campaigning,raising money to buy media time and space is a full-time obsession for many politicians. Asecond suggestion is that broadcasters should make free time available to candidates andcampaigns, reducing the influence of money and increasing the length of time candidates haveto present full, cogent explanations of their positions. A third suggestion is that to limit allcampaigning – personal and mediated – to a specified period before Election Day. Campaigningoutside this “run up” to the election would be illegal. Neither negative campaigning is an effective means of winning votes, even though it tendsto be more memorable and stimulate knowledge about the campaign. Nor is there any reliableevidence that negative campaigning depresses voter turnout, though it does slightly lowerfeelings of political efficacy, trust in government and possibly overall public mood.PROSOCIAL EFFECTS: Virtually every argument that can be made for the harmful or negative effects of mediacan also be applied to the ability of media to do well.In our increasingly complex technologicalmedia environment, children are exposed to a sweeping array of role models and messages.Some of these portrayals and messages are positive ones, teaching children to become morehelpful, more curious, and even more tolerant. A sizeable body of science exists that clearlydemonstrates that people, especially children, can and will model the good or prosocialbehaviors they see in the media, often to a greater extent than they will the negative behaviors. Links between attitudes and media portrayal have been demonstrated. None of this,however, is meant to imply that media content cannot have good or prosocial effects. POSITIVE EFFECTS NEGATIVE EFFECTS 1. Media provide news and information 1. The traditional culture of a country is required by the people. adversely affected by mass media. 2. Media can educate the public. 2. Entertainment has become the main 3. Media helps a democracy component of mass media. This affects functioneffectively. They inform the the primary objectives of media to public about government policies and inform and educate the people. programmes and how these
programmes can be useful to them. 3. Media promote violence. Studies have This helps the people voice proved that violence shown on theirfeelings and helps the television and cinema has negative governmentto make necessary effects on children. changes in their policies or 4. Mass media promote the desire in programmes. people to buy and own products that 4. Media can entertain people. are advertised through the media but 5. Media can act as an agent of change which may not be essential for them. in development. 6. Media has brought people of the world closer to each other. 7. Media promote trade and industry through advertisements 8. Media can help the political and democratic processes of a country. 9. Media can bring in positive social changes.CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the media can be used to promote social growth and thinking skills.Television and the newer electronic media, is used wisely, have great positive potential forlearning and development. Television is a better medium than the printed word for conveyingcertain types of information, and it makes learning available to group of children who do not dowell in traditional school situations and even to people who cannot read. Media is an integral part of our society, but that’s also a fact that its too muchintervention in everything is a matter of concern. Sometimes, just for making money,insignificant news is given so much priority that the real news is not even brought into notice.Yes, it does also entertain but again it’s a debatable issue because by ’entertainment’ we meanhealthy entertainment and not those nonsense TV serials. So at last, like science it is a tool,which we have to use by our judgment to provide maximum satisfaction side by side withoutharming ourselves. Sometimes, some channels also broadcast and publish the messages in suchsituation that the real messages are left beyond our hands. The other disadvantage is thatsometimes they also publish or broadcast some vulgar news, and sometimes unessentialactivities are served as very important news and broadcasted again and again. This does notbroaden the reach of media. In spite of being sensational and biased, the significant of media cannot be ignored,especially in an age, in which globalization and liberalization have become the order of the day.
In this globalized world, task and duties of media are increasing day by day. There is still a lot tobe done by the media for the betterment of the society. I believe that mass media has affected our society both positively and negatively. It hasprogrammed our thoughts, how we dress and how we relate to one another. Certain imagesshown on television influence kids to misbehave, disobeying parents under the impression thatit’s cool. Disobedience leads to distraction, which leads to teenage pregnancy, drug abuse etc.On the other hand mass media can persuade young kids positively: if you tune to programmesthat motivate positive force.