The world is coming closer to a global village, strongly influenced by media. There are many forms of media. Mass media is a communication whether written, broadcast, or spoken that reaches a large audience, has a significant influence in modern culture all over the world, particularly in America. On the other hand in social media which can be defined as “forms of electronic communication as websites for social networking and microblogging through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content as videos” (“social media”).
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Everybody publishes whatever they want. Fake news websites are broadly common, publishing lies and fabricated news. While there are obviously many great benefits to the growth of the media, there are some undeniable and harsh disadvantages. Medical, social and psychological issues are a few things that Media uses against us. So it is my assertion that media has a negative impact on people’s lives because it causes a dissatisfaction with body image, creates addiction, and can destroy interpersonal relationships.
Today’s young Americans, aged 18 to 30, know less and care less about news and public affairs than any other generation of Americans in the past 50 years. “Each year, the average American spends 1550 hours of TV, listens to 1160 hours of radio, and spends 290 hours reading newspapers and magazine (Rhoads).” But for social media, situation is quite different, it is affecting the young generation the most like they spend one third of their day on social networking which is the average of nine hours per day, and I have observed this in my own house. My husband and son both are addicted to Facebook, they spend hours and hours on browsing on different links and pictures, and follow Facebook’s each information blindly.
Television remains turn on, both father and son lay down on the sofas, holding their smartphones. I have noticed that my son does not like to be social with people, he prefers and feels happy to be socializing on WhatsApp and Imo. My husband is showing the same pattern. He has only one friend, and most of the time he spend on browsing. I do not use any social site or application to connect. I like to communicate but nobody has time to listen me, or go out. This is my family everyday version. There are millions of families, who are tackling the same circumstances.
Media is all around us; in our homes, cars, educational institutes. Since back 70s’, TV was the most popular form of media and a major part of every household in America. In new era of technology, social media has taken the lead in dictating how people live today. It makes people act differently in front of others in order to gain attention. This is due to being self-obsessed of one to being better than others.
According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), 80% of women are unhappy with their appearance and approximately 45% are dieting on any given day, developing the an obsession, which is contributing in eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression among women in the United State (NEDA). The media responsible for negative influence on people’s lives because it is developing dissatisfaction of body images depicted as beautiful when often issues arise about people suffering from anorexia and bulimia disorders, creating addiction among young population especially and harms interpersonal relationships with friends and family.
Individuals are confronted constantly with messages from media sources including TV, social sites, magazines, to name a few. These sources promote not only products but moods and attitudes. “Data from 25 studies (43 effect sizes) used to examine the main effect of mass media images of the slender ideal, showed the more negative effect after viewing thin media images than after viewing images of average, plus size models, and that negative effect was stronger for subjects less than 19 years of age particularly (Groesz. et al).” People compare themselves to celebrities, photo-shopped images in advertisements. Where we see, women are most likely to appear young, skinny and flawless by advertiser’s usage of photo-shop and other editing to modify the model. To be noticed, to be wanted, to be loved, mostly every female do care about and have worries about their body image.
Body Image is all about how you feel about your body. Stereotypes obsession formed by media that include hyper thin, tanned women particularly is damaging to society. Although negative impact of media has proven on women, but these images used to influence men also. Men are also struggling with media influence to be bigger and more muscular and more aggressive. Showbiz Magazines and their online websites are also contributing to the negative body image problems. I feel myself as sufferer by television too and I developed low self-esteem. I am a plus size person, my only entertainment is watching television to relax but I stopped watching American channels transmission now due to over advertising of diet plans, bikini wearing models, medicines for losing weight, publicity by thin and flawless models, makes me feel not so happening and I avoid to go out and meet people.
Although social media can help connect people around the world social sites have become damaging to the society because everyone is on Facebook. People’s necessity to have accounts of all social sites. They do post things, share contents without significant truthfulness and talk with each other whole day 24/7. Social media has become an addiction. “The addictive aspect of social networking is associated with FOMO- fear of missing out (Gonchar).”
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Skype, Imo, WhatsApp, are few of this list of social sites of this era, there are many more on which millions of people especially young generation waste their precious time. Back in 90s’, MSN, Yahoo messenger were so popular among all ages, even I was addicted to Pal talk Messenger which released in 1998 and used to spend at least 9-11 hours to interact different people from all over the world. It was my daily routine. I used to stay inside my room in front of my desktop, avoided to go out. It is proven by researches that people who typically spend more than two hours online a day are doubling their chances of feeling isolated.
Social media sites designed to help people connect, but causing the opposite effect to make feel users more alone. It limits communication to mobile phones. People are so distracted with their accounts on several social sites that they will often neglect to have actual interactions with others around them. It denies people of human contact and accompanying closeness and exchange opinions. This goes hand in hand with the previously mentioned above addiction issue. Smartphones has taken the place of computer in our lives, have increasingly become essential component, allows us to connect instantly anywhere and anytime to the world, in opposite it diverts us from focusing on face to face communication with each other and do interfere interpersonal relationships, especially in young generation.
In 2014, a study from Pew Research indicated that 42 percent of eighteen to twenty nine years old in serious relationships claim that their partner had been distracted by his or her mobile phone when the couple was spending time together (Gonchar). It affects romantic couples from engaging in serious conversation because mostly users feel to pick their smart phones even they do not get any alerts or message. While at dinner or going in public, people glued to their phone screens, constantly checking all their social profiles.
Despite the many negative application and influences of media may have, it is important to accept the positive results too. We all agree that mass media is a permanent part of modern culture, has become more widespread and accessible. President Trump used to promote his electoral program with direct connection with the people via his social account on Twitter. That social media was the most effective tool for Trump.
His Twitter posts were immediately received by white voters as guaranteed realities, helped him to win, mobilized the voters, otherwise even the day of election, he was not sure about his victory. Every day from morning till night, President Trump still connecting the world through Twitter. Another great positive influence of social media, we can observe in health care industry like medical professionals are helping patients and clients through it. “The medical field has found success in using social media for disaster response; rapid, point of care consultation; and collection research participant and data to aid in product development and evaluation (Fleck).”
One more positive role of media, I want to discuss that social media provides great ways to connect, interact and communicate with friends and family while living separately. It makes us connect to the world. We can share pictures, videos, some information among our friends. Through social media, you can make strong your existing relationships and can make new friends in all over the world through different social networking websites. My own two school friends found me through Facebook after 20 years. “Roughly two third (67%) of social media users says that staying g in touch with current friends and family members is major reason they use these social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace or LinkedIn (Heimlich).”
When I look back in my childhood, that time, only one kind of media was available and that was television. Television transmissions were limited, was the only entertainment for all of us especially for me to watch five minute cartoons. I still remember my childhood memories of my friends, used to play games, all siblings were so close with each other. Too much access to media 24/7 nonstop making us lazy, low self-confidence, even more isolated from friends and family, lacking face to face communication skill.
We have to think about it. We are all living in a self-created bubbles. Instead of wasting our precious time on internet and watching television or texting on cellphones, we should switch off our all smart devices at least for one hour daily. Spend time with family, go out, do some work in your garden, do some grocery, meet with your neighbors, invite friends. Everything looks good, when it balanced.
Craddock, Geoffrey. NEDA. “National Eating Disorder Association.” 2016, https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ Accessed 04 April. 2017.
Fardouly, Jasmine, et al. “Social Comparison on Social Media: The Impact of Facebook on Young Women’s Body Image Concerns and Mood.” Body Image, vol. 13, 01 Mar. 2015, 38-45. EBSCO. http://sinclair.ohionet.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edselp&AN=S174014451400148X&site=eds-live Accessed 31 March, 2017.
Fleck, Jesse and Leigh Johnson-Migalski. “The Impact of Social Media on Personal and Professional Lives: an Adlerian Perspective.” The Journal of Individual Psychology, no. 2, 2015, p. 135. EBSCO. http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.sinclair.ohionet.org/eds/detail/detail?vid=1&sid=8825c8a9-e46d-439d-989f-72016376c748%40sessionmgr104&hid=108&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#AN=edspmu.S2332058315200047&db=edspmu Accessed 28 March. 2017.
Gonchar, Michael. “Does Technology make us more Alone?” New York Times: The Learning Network, 14 Oct, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/learning/does-technology-make-us-more-alone.html. Accessed 20 March, 2017.
Groesz, Lisa M. et al. “The effect of experimental presentation of thin images on body satisfaction: A meta-analytic review.” International Journal of Eating Disorders, Jan, 2002. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eat.10005/full Accessed 25 March 2017.
Heimlich, Russell. “Using Social Media to Keep in Touch.” PewResearch Centre, 22 Dec. 2011, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2011/12/22/using-social-media-to-keep-in-touch/. Accessed 07 April 2017.
Rhoads, Kelton. “Everyday Influence and Persuasion: the Media.” Working Psychology: Applying Psychology to Influence, Persuasion & Teamwork. http://www.workingpsychology.com/evryinfl.html. Accessed 20 March. 2017.
“Social Media.” Merriam-Webster.com, https://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/social%20media Accessed 03 April. 2017.