It is important that we evaluate how we let the media dominate our lives. Media are the communicating tools or outlets that receive, store, and give out information. This term refers to components of the mass media and the communication industry.
Media technology has made communication increasingly easier since its discovery. Media tools are utilized by almost all age range today – the children need it for school and the adults for their day to day jobs and activities.
However, as soothing and pleasing as the media may sound, it also has its negative side to everyday life. Therefore, proper evaluation of media consumption must be done to ensure that more good is done to humanity than harm.
Below we’ll be talking about some of the good developments and also adverse effects of media contents.
The media and its tools are powerful teaching aids. Certain programmme displayed on the television and other streaming devices prove to be quite educational and help children learn better.
For example, ‘Sesame Street’ helps toddlers learn about simple arithmetic, the alphabet, kindness, cooperation, and even racial harmony. Educational materials also shared on social media like YouTube can have positive impacts on the lives of humans.
Still, without proper and healthy media usage habits, it can negatively affect the learning process.
Watching television or spending time on media gadgets reduces the time we spend carrying out other important activities like reading and school work.
Recent studies have shown that 1 to 2 hours of daily unsupervised television viewing by school-age children has a significant negative impact on academic performance.
The rate at which violence is being displayed on media platforms these days has become a cause for concern. An average child sees over 12,000 violent acts on media platforms annually.
A study has revealed that exposure to heavy doses of media violence increases aggressive behaviour, particularly amongst boys. Other studies also show that the publishing of suicide information also leads to an increase in suicidal risk. A list of child grouping that may be vulnerable to violence on media includes
- Children from Minority and Immigrant Groups.
- Children with disabilities in learning.
- Emotionally disturbed children.
- Children in family distress.
- Children subjected to abuse by parents.
Due to excessive time spent on social media and other media tools like television and phones, there is almost no time for exercises and health maintenance activities.
The time usually meant for preparing a balanced diet is taken away so they tend to fall back on Junks and fast foods. Most of these foods contain a high concentration of fat which may result in obesity.
The media also aid in promoting unhealthy dietary practices through commercials and adverts. Most of the food advertised are high-calorie foods with just 4% of the advert going to healthy meals.
The media may also influence the eating habits of children who may like to adopt the poor eating habits of a character on a TV show. Also, eating meals while going through the media should be discouraged as it may lead to less meaningful communication and arguably poorer eating habits.
The media is one of the most prominent sex educators worldwide now.
Between 1976 and 1996, there was a striking 270% increase in sexual interaction during the family hour of 8 pm to 9 pm due to the sexual contents been displayed on the television.
The media exposes children to adult sexual behaviours in ways that portray these actions as normal and risk-free, giving them the idea that because the behaviours are frequent, then ‘everyone does it.’
Some contents shown on the media are not properly censored and without enough privacy restrictions set up to keep kids out. Sex between unmarried partners is displayed more often than sex between spouses, while unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are rarely mentioned.
The media is currently the leading source of information about sex for teenagers, second only to school sex education programs. Several studies document the susceptibility of teens to the media influence on their sexual attitudes, values, and beliefs.
Although no current empirical evidence can be placed to support this, some people believe that the media can influence sexual responsibility by promoting birth control and protection from STDs using condoms.
Alcohol And Smoking
Commercials and adverts are used to promote the sales of different kinds of alcohol. Some adverts carry the tag ‘real men drink beer’ which entices teenage boys who want to feel like men to indulge.
In Sweden, the government placed a ban on alcohol advertisements, and it led to a decline in alcohol consumption. Tobacco products, on the other hand, may not be publicly advertised but passive promotion occurs when probably, a soap opera star or the main character in a movie lights a cigarette in a “macho” act. Some sporting events even have the names of tobacco companies as sponsors.
Evidence exists to portray that passive advertising which glamorizes smoking has increased over the past few years.
The major concern is the way tobacco products are being displayed on the media without showing its adverse effect. Over 70 percent of every music video or G rated animated movie contains the use of tobacco.
In as much as the media has come to stay and is trying to help make the world better, we cannot ignore the negative aspects that threaten the physical, social and emotional well-being of the human race. For this reason, proper evaluation of contents must be done to ensure proper and responsible media consumption.
Parents can help by turning on the parental control option on the TV, and even on the phones of their kids. Awareness of the negative impact of media contents can be shared through the media also.
Also, almost all religions are not in support of these negative aspects of the media; therefore, as a parent, make sure to teach your children to uphold their religious beliefs.
High media consumption is unhealthy, even the Bible says there is time for everything. And a popular saying goes that “too much of everything is bad”.
Therefore, ensure you regulate your media consumption by including other recreational activities that can help build a healthy and more fulfilling lifestyle.