The negative impact of today’s media on younger audience

Currently, mans capability to have access to any kinds of information has become easier because of the rise of traditional media and the cheaper, alternative technology like the Internet. Media now has taken on several newer forms such as social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, as well as video publishing channels like YouTube and Netflix. This provides the people easier access to entertainment, information, and perhaps, most importantly, education. Bok connects this with the 17th article on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1981. It states that the government shall be responsible for giving children socially and culturally beneficial information, and safekeeping them from harmful materials (Bok, 163). This has since supported the ongoing debate on censorship (Bok, 164) and how much of todays media falls under the harmful category. More importantly, because the Internet has changed how much information reaches its intended audience and how quickly this information spreads among the public, it becomes all the more important to re-examine how best to restrain the younger audiences unhealthy access to harmful content in media.

The United States has seen perhaps some of the most terrible crimes in the past years. More and more considerably violent television show and video game titles like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty have become crowd favorites in popular culture. Not only that, but it did so in the span of just a decade. Scholars have since examined the rise in rampage shootings in American schools, and how copycat behavior influences similar crimes to occur (Barron). In fact, the BBC notes how killings related to gun use have increased to 73% in 2017 alone. NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre criticizes much of the entertainment industry related with the issue, in that they portray life as a joke and murder a way of life (Rottenberg, 35). Indeed, many television shows and video games show graphic portrayals of violence near to the point of normalizing it. The public, in turn, now debates about the possible link between young viewers consumption of violent media and the tendency to commit violent acts, themselves. While studies remain indecisive as to the relationship between violence and the media, it still needs more attention in order for the State and websites to explore measures to reduce this.

Apart from influencing behavior among younger consumers, much of todays media and the images they present has a negative impact on how these individuals view themselves. While calls for more body-positive representation in media have surfaced in recent years, the movement remains divided among the public. Even after recent change in tone from brands like Dove and Maybelline regarding how they present the looks of women are not enough. However, research has already established that media shapes what teenage girls consider as important aspects of themselves, and now, that is, being pretty and thin (Bawdon, 33). Apart from a harsh standard they force to themselves to be attractive, some young girls develop eating disorders (Bawdon, 35). Moreover, much of their body image stems from their consumption of unrealistic images of women and models in magazines, television commercials and series, and even film. This happens because most of these teenage girls seem unaware that these images have been heavily manipulated and routinely airbrushed (Bawdon, 34). In protecting younger girls from harmful and somewhat violent depictions of how women should be, it might be more effective to replace these unrealistic standards, altogether.

Violence in modern media, as proven in a few of the examples mentioned, take on forms both physical, as in first-person shooter games, and psychological, as seen in most magazine covers subject to heavy photo manipulation (Dewey). The Internet has made it much easier for anyone, more or less unsupervised younger audiences, at that, to simply access such media. Even though social media networks like Facebook publish guidelines in the Terms of Use and Community Standards sections of the website, it remains inadequate.  Most harmful content become subject for review after being reported if and only if they get reported at all. Video publishing websites like Youtube now offer content-filtered counterparts like Youtube for Kids, but violent media still make pass within these filtering systems as harmless videos (Orphanides). At best, these solutions only work at the surface level, but these remain good starting points for taking responsibility over what young viewers see in media. Even seemingly harmless content like Pewdiepies Youtube channel can be bad places where children are exposed to the wrong things. While it is not necessarily the channel owners fault, the harmful things that the community can say or link to still pose a threat.

By any and all means, the public should rethink its approach in safeguarding teenage viewers and younger from potentially damaging content. For instance, in avenues such as removing heavily manipulated photographs to prevent younger women from creating negative perceptions of body image. This may reduce how teenage girls continue to subscribe to unattainable standards now popular in the media. Finally, everyone needs to deal with the tendency to reduce graphic violence into something to be admired, as normally portrayed in different media. This could also be reduced if younger audiences found lesser ways to access these images.

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