7 Negative Effects Of The Media That We Should All Be Careful About.
Whether we enjoy it or not, every waking moment we are living in a media driven world. The internet, radio, television, and print media are all constantly in our face with their thoughts and opinions, flashy images, loud sound bites, and endless amounts of advertisements.
Although the media provides us with a shared memory or experience, many of these ideas are self-defeating and downright negative. We see the same things repeated, or shown, again and again and they are hard to ignore. However, many people actually begin to believe some of these negative images and take them to heart.
The media is there to work on your mind. Whether you are reading an article, watching a video, or silently staring at a commercial, each of them is purposely designed to get into our collective minds. All this negativity has a cumulative effect on our minds and the way we think. Below are seven common negative attitudes seen in the media, and ways that we can deal with them.
1. Overspending: Every day in America the average citizen sees around 250 commercials. No matter what we do, or where we look, we are being told that we “need” something: whether that is a bigger tv or a bigger house with a three-car garage, or fast food. It is not bad to buy and consume things, but you need to ask yourself if this purchase is something you need to improve your life; or are you buying to fill some empty spot in your life? We all should be more aware of what we are buying and ask ourselves if this purchase is necessary.
2. Hurtful Words: The internet overflows with people who love nothing more than to sling insults and expose others to their anger. Message boards abound with trolls who only aim to disrupt the lives of people they don’t even know. Witty one-liners and rude behavior online are barely tolerated on message boards; in real life no one would dare to speak to other people in the same manner. When online, work on good communication skills. Debate, discuss, and persuade other people without being an offending bore.
3. Stereotyping: We constantly hear that there is truth in stereotyping. The only truth is that being constantly exposed to the same negative images does reinforce these negative stereotypes. Television does its share of stereotyping… think about the air-headed blonde, or the dumb jock, or the nerd with his pens and pocket protector. We all know these are stereotypes, but our minds do question them when we see them so often. Instead of these questions, think about these stereotypes and realize that every human on the planet is a unique individual and should not be put into any category.
4. Everyone is Beautiful: It’s absolutely amazing that everyone on television is a beautiful person, with gorgeous sex partners always there and willing. Humans have a great tendency to see all these gorgeous people and think that they, too, must have a partner that fills all their fantasies. This behavior can destroy you if it is left uncontrolled. To get beyond the roaming eyes, remember that all relationships are built upon so much more than outward beauty.
5. Perfect Bodies: Just like #4 above, perfect looks seem to be on perfect bodies. Television and other ads show models who are just too perfect in their physical bodies. This is often due to these bodies being airbrushed to make imperfections disappear. Fat people belong outside of the media, or so we are led to believe. However, even people who are physically fit have problems with body image. We never can fit the ideals that we see in the media. Being attractive might be nice, but those in the media spend a lot of time (and money) making themselves look a certain way; they may be plain Janes without makeup. Remember, who you are and what you value, goes deeper than your appearance.
6. Cliques: Have you ever noticed that tv programs often have cast member that are socially, ethnically, and racially the same? These cliques are seen in the real world, but are seen more often in the media. Of course, these shows make money, and that is the bottom line. Where is the melting pot? Happily, the melting pot still exists in most of our lives. We need not be afraid of people who are not “exactly like us” because we can all learn new things from each other.
7. Danger: Our minds are hard-wired to watch out for dangerous situations. It is that “fight or flight” reflex. Watch the Discovery Channel for a few weeks and you will see that they love showing programs that have to do with the planet being destroyed by some destructive force of nature. Documentaries and movies about earthquakes, tsunamis, and giant asteroids hitting Earth are popular with the public. Our nightly news broadcasts lead story every time is about blood, guts or destruction of some kind – whether to our planet or our people. Negative images surround us daily. It is up to each of us to focus on the positive aspects of the world around us. Our own perspectives should help us chase away the bad and live for the good.
There is nothing evil about the media; television, radio, the internet, and all other forms of print media are delightful, often thoughtful ways to communicate with the world around us. Movies and videos can be works of art that offer us time away from our hectic lives.
All too often we blame the media for all the negativity in the world. The simple truth is that we have allowed the media to dish out this negative soup in a golden bowl. We eat it up! The media is a collection of businesses, each one out to make a buck. That is their purpose, and they give us what sells. Some people enjoy seeing the darkest aspects of human nature all laid out in nice tiny sound bytes, all ready to consume. If we stopped watching, reading, and listening to their trash, they might just stop giving it to us.
There is an art film/documentary that every parent should watch called “Evidence.” This short film focuses on the faces of small children as they watch tv. Witness their total absorption in the screen as they sit there with blank expressions and comatose eyes. Their facial expressions may change some in response to certain images, but mostly they just sit there looking like zombies. Now, imagine your own face as it must look when you watch television, completely absorbed in a show.
There is a great way to distance yourself from all the negative images that bombard you on a constant basis: shut off all media and get outside! Trade sunshine for tv screen; children playing, and birds chirping instead of commercials blaring. Leave the media behind and enjoy the simple pleasures of the world you live in. Once you escape the negative and destruction, and begin seeing the grand things in life, you will realize that the world is not the scarey place that the media portrays. Life has its ups and downs, but, for the most part, life should be about connecting with people and places around you – for the good of all.