BCM110: BLAMING the media – Is it their fault?

Because particularly technological media is relatively new to society, it has brought cautions to those who were raised without the internet, text messages and social media platforms. This potentially causes older generations to criticise the media due to the difference between their social life at a young age compared to the children of the 21st century. Although the media is largely blamed in regard to the social wellbeing of children, it is argued that the media has contributed to growing lifestyle problems among individuals other than children, from depression to anorexia.

Technologies incorporating the social media such as Facebook, Myspace and Tumblr have presented ‘media effects’ on their users as it has introduced a new platform of “cyber-bullying”, particularly among children. Parents and schools particularly blame the media for this problem, as in some cases, children resort to things like self-harm and suicide as a result of cyber bullying. 15 year-old Courtney Love from Kiama is a prime example of the implications of cyber bullying, who took her own life in 2012.Image

However, the media is not fully to blame in this incident, as she had been battling bullying, both online and to her face, and depression for about two years (Mardon; Illawarra Murcury, 2014), but demonstrated the cultivation of these ‘media effects’ having negative implications on children, as (particularly social) media allows them to ‘like’, comment and share posts with each other, potentially accumulating criticism and allowing bullies to thrive.

But the media isn’t just blamed by older generations because of its effects on the future generations, and certainly not on just social media networks. Public media such as advertisements and television shows is increasingly being blamed for lifestyle problems among wider society (Wiseman and colleagues, 1992) The media can provide a ‘social context’ issues such as eating disorders and depression, as it causes individuals to engage in intense idolising – where they seek to look like a certain person (Spettigue; Henderson, 2004), or feel irregular or unnatural due to their presumed differences form those individuals in the media. Surveys suggest that 83% of adolescent girls read fashion magazines for an average of 4.3 hours per week (Levine & Smolak, 1996), demonstrating the immense influence and cultivation media has on society.

The media is generally blamed because lifestyle problems such as eating disorders and depression arise from individuals idolising over what is projected, making them feel ‘under-satisfactory’ due to what they look life, how much they weigh, what their body features are like etc.

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This is justified by the glamorisation of what is presented in public media, which conversely has a negative effect on society due to the public comparing and idolising. 

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All in all, you could say that issues such as cyber bullying, eating disorders and psychological tensions aren’t ‘because’ of the media, as individuals have their own personal problems and insecurities. However, the media does play an influential role in triggering these issues, as people today are surrounded by television, advertisements and social network platforms causing them to affect their lifestyles.

References:

Mardon; Illawarra Mercury; March 7, 2014; http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/2135593/kiama-tragedy-sick-freaks-killed-my-daughter/?cs=300 

Wiseman & colleagues; 1992 | Levine & Smolak; 1996

All via Spettigue; Henderson, 2004; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2533817/#b27-0130016

Other sources:

Gauntlett; 1998; http://www.theory.org.uk/ctr-eff.htmhttp://www.theory.org.uk/effects.htm

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One Comment Add yours

  1. I think this is excellent! You have a lot of examples and that makes it really interesting and explains things a lot better. You have researched both sides of the argument very well and provide very good reasons for your opinions. The images are perfect; they fit in exactly with what you’re trying to convey. I particularly like the Sophia Bush image – I have always thought that was a perfect depiction of the media and body image issue ever since I saw that episode of One Tree Hill. Love it!!

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