In a society that is constantly changing and evolving, so too is the way in which the world perceives the role of mass media in the lives of individuals. The media, a useful tool for putting a number of global issues on a more local platform, has been consistently blamed for a number of other affairs in society. But is the media really the cause for all of this?
A long list of negative impacts the media has had on the lives of millions has been misguidedly formulated and is consequently growing larger and larger each day. Whether it be violence in schools, psychologically unstable teenagers or body dissatisfaction, the media manages to draw the short straw, being recognised profusely by a significant fraction of the population to be the cause of more sinister and often alarming circumstances.
As an ‘impressionable‘ young member of society, I’ve watched a multitude of TV programs — Underbelly, Pretty Little Liars, Smallville, Love Child and the all the more popular Home and Away (in my household at least) — some of which are deemed to mould myself, you, and undoubtedly a large segment of the global community into potential gang members, drug dealers, immoral young mothers and in more extreme cases, cold blooded killers.
Upon reading Ten Things Wrong with the ‘Effects Model’ by David Gauntlett, I came to the conclusion that this is not the case. It is, in my opinion, ridiculous to say such a thing. The media cannot be directly responsible for an individual’s thoughts, and thus their actions. I believe it cannot exert enough force to incite such controversy. The media certainly has an impact, but it is not the sole instigator. As Gauntlett asserts in the aforementioned article, society “fails to look in any way at the ‘bigger picture’.”
Causality goes well beyond the media, and this should not be ignored in favour of settling for an easier explanation.
– Gauntlett D., 1998, Ten Things Wrong with the ‘Effects Model’, viewed 17 March 2014 <http://www.theory.org.uk/effects.htm>
– Image: 2013, Mass Media Cartoon, viewed 17 March 2014 <http://otrazhenie.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/mass-media.png?w=286&h=300>