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The effect of mass media on children - Research Paper Example

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The Effect of Mass Media on Children Name Institution Date The Effect of Mass Media on Children Introduction Elements of the mass media have grown to be an omnipresent factor in the lives of many children around the world. These elements include magazines, newspapers, the radio, comic books, movies, video games, and particularly television…
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Download file to see previous pages Thesis Statement; The proliferation of the elements of the mass media has positive as well as negative consequences. It is important for children to be taught how to make the most out of the more positive aspects in order to benefit their own intellectual development. Different aspects of the Mass Media One of the reasons why the mass media elements can be detrimental to the psychological development of children is because they present a reality that does not really exist. For example, television is not an agent that encourages viewers to be interactive (Strasburger, Jordan, and Donnerstein, 2010). Adults may understand this; however, children are easily deceived into imagining that they are interacting and not just consuming. This can be viewed as being a negative aspect because watching television will fill the social needs of the children without giving them the chance to acquire new social skills that will help them in real life situations with other people. According to Keating (2011) the average child in developed nations watches 4 hours of television on a daily basis. Given that the child will also have to attend school and possibly perform a few chores in the home, this means that the time for playing with other children and socializing with them is drastically reduced (Romer, Jamieson, and Aday, 2003). While reading newspapers and magazines or watching entertaining programs helps a child to develop good literary skills, it may also cause he child to acquire the values and principles that are extolled on his or her favorite programs. This is particularly likely if the child in question is isolated from other children and does not really communicate with others on a regular basis except in school. This is why there is a need for a balance to be struck between watching television, playing videos, or reading popular magazines, and playing outside with other real life people (Keating, 2011). There are different theories that seek to explain how elements of the mass media affect the way that children communicate. Some of these include: The Social action theory According to this theory, when engaged in the media, children form a part of a system of mediated communication which allows them to take new meanings from the content they are watching or reading about. The theory holds that communication includes aspects such as the receivers’ interpretation, the actor’s objective, and the inherent message (Meirick, Sims, Gilchrist, and Croucher, 2009). This means that the process of communication perceived by children when they are engaged in mass media elements is not about gaining meaning, but creating it according to an individual’s understanding. Many children today do not hone their reasoning abilities through engaging in rational discussions about platonic ideas, but model them according to what mass media elements say. Even by adults, the media is greatly trusted; and presumed to be saying the truth whenever they report on different things. For example, during campaigns leading to national or local elections, it is quite easy for a media station or major newspaper to subtly influence the decision of prospective voters in the choice of candidate to opt for by emphasizing on one candidate’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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