The world we live in is every changing around us, it is a wonder we can even keep up with the technical advances that are happening. Everywhere we look there are cell phones, computers, tablets, smart phones, hand-held video games players, and much more. In the 21st century many people do not know how it was a hundred or more years ago. Over the years media has grown in a tremendous way, but one thing has remained the same; the way it can influence many people all over the world. Technology in society such as newspapers, television, movies, photography, and others, play a role in society by binding large audiences culturally but also reinforces cultural fragmentation (Vivian, ch.13, p. 1). Media in society can influence thoughts and beliefs in the viewers. It can also influence the way people act and learn. Vivian says in chapter 13, “Mass messages are significant in helping children learn society’s expectations.” Before television was invented the primary way a toddler would learn was through the parents teaching them in the home. With the advance of technology, the primary way a child learns has changed. Many children learn through television and interactions on a computer. Vivian also said in chapter 13 that a child’s way of learning expands to include the mass media such as Sesame Street. These types of shows instill beliefs, values, and have more influence on a child then what the parents or teachers at school can have (Vivian, ch.13, p.4). Mass media not only can have an impact on a child’s learning, but it also influences adults in the way they think and act. When a political campaign is in motion the mass media will post photographs that depict what they want one to see and believe. Catchy slogans will accompany these photos to instill the thought of a great leader. Mass media will focus on only one side of a potential leader, trying to make the public believe that if the votes are for this candidate only good will come, or the opposite; bad will follow. Other ways the media uses technology is through advertising on television, radio, and sending out flyers. All of these tactics influence what a person thinks about the candidate, whether or not it is all true.
They do the same tactics with much of the news from around the world. People believe what they see and hear through the media, without ever thinking that it most likely not the whole story. Digital technology in the electronic media also influences the thoughts of the viewers. Movies, music, video games, and even books are all rated based on the content. Movies have a rating of either NC-17 for no one 17 and under admitted, R for restricted. Children under 17 require accompanying parent or adult guardian, PG-13 for parents strongly cautioned, PG for parental guidance suggested, or G for general audiences (MPAOA, 2013). All of these ratings influence what people think the content of the movie will be, even before they see the movie or hear any reviews. These ratings influence parents on their decisions on whether or not their children will be allowed to see the movie. Similar ratings are set for music and video games too. If a rating of R or NC-17 is on a movie or music album the sale of such item is prohibited to a minor. From when television first came into many homes in the early 1950’s to the 21st century, one thing has not changed; mass media can influence people al l over the world. Media has grown in a way that many did not expect. In the late 1920’s the mass media would use the radio to get messages across to many people. That was the way to inform the public of the news from around the world and keep them informed. Because this was one of the primary ways to reach many in a short time span, this was what many people listened to and believed what news they heard. Television came out in the late 1950’s and many people turned to it to receive their news updates; again the media could reach a large audience in a short time span. The views again took the word of the television programing and shows and believed what they were watching and seeing. In the 21st century there are many ways to hear, see, and read the news. One can know instantly through the use of their cell phone what news is happening, what movies are being released, what new music is being released, and just about anything one could want to know. Even through the use of all these technological advances one thing stands firm and will forever be unchanged; the mass media will use technology to reach many people and influence their daily thoughts, beliefs, plans, and life.
Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAOA) (2013)
Retrieved from: http://www.mpaa.org/ratings/what-each-rating-means
Vivian, J. (2011). The media of mass communication (10th Ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Ch.13. Retrieved from: University Of Phoenix Library
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