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The Effects of Media

An image, disturbing to picture, of a child?s mind and inside the child?s

mind is a schema of every concept the adolescent has ever taken in. A Nazi

swastika symbolizes an evil hatred from history, the child has learned that

prejudice is wrong. A mental picture of a young bride walking down an isle, the

child knows marriage is sacred and that the woman can take pride in her white

dress. A Coke bottle brings the sweetness of cola to the youth?s taste buds.

This person was biologically determined to be female at birth. This person now

has a role in society to play. We refer to her as female because she is not male

and there is no in between in our culture, she is female because of her physical

features. We have a schema of what a female is expected to be. She probably has

hair with length. Her features should be soft and luscious. She will not fight;

she will smell good. She isn?t impressed with extremely large spiders; she

will be impressed with beautiful flowers. She should desire to look sexy, to

dress sexily, to be sexy. Certain things are expected of her. She is to learn

the behaviors, beliefs, and values her society presents her with. Not only will

she learn those requirements but she will also learn from the environment around

her. All the information she is presented with she will accept and decide where

to put it. She will be forming her opinions, beliefs morals, behaviors and

values of her own. The average youth will watch 10,000,000 advertisements before

the age of eighteen (Hull). Reading through an average teen magazine, a teenager

can read about how to be popular, how to apply makeup, how to style hair, even

how to dress next month. The average movie is filled with advertisements just

slipped in casually. Not to mention regular tv has eight minutes of commercials

for every 22 minutes of television (Hull). I ask my audience to consider the

information received by their children and evaluate the choices of media in the

environment your children live in.

Everyone has their own set of values. Similar to fingerprints, no two sets of

values are alike. Values evolve and change depending on each individual?s

experience, age, education, culture, etc. A major influence in today?s society

is media, it is everywhere and contains an immense amount of messages. Youth in

general have become the number one target of Media. Why is this? Teens spend on

average 100 million dollars a year. In addition they spend more than $50 million

a year of their parent?s money(Merchants of ?Cool?). This is a big

business! 75% of teens have a television in their room. 1/3 of teens have a

personal computer in their room and the average time spent online per night is

two hours (Youthworker). With all this mass amount of media being taken in every

day how do we know exactly what teens do with this information. These are

questions parents must ask themselves: How much of this information effects my

child?s values. How does this information effect my child?s personal


The personality development begins day one on this planet, according to

Freud. Every age has its own learning experience that must be accomplished to

fit in society. Let us look at our female baby. She is born and immediately

categorized as a boy or a girl. She will be dressed in dresses and other

exclusively female clothes. Her welcome home sign will indicate her gender. This

is when Freud says we act from our id, or our basic need drives. We know when

something is needed and we demand instant assistance. Every minute to a baby is

an eternity. The comprehension of time isn?t acquired until later in life.

First she will learn what is considered to be right and wrong. Her family plays

a huge role in her facing this challenge. The child will learn the meaning of

the word ?no.? This is often even a child?s first word. As she graduates

from early childhood she will begin to learn consequences. Reasons why things

are right and wrong. She will learn self control and confidence. She knew that

mom would not let her near the wood stove and now she understands the

consequences of a burn. The understanding on basic explanations for right and

wrong is called the ego. She will act by these now. Once she accomplishes these

early lessons she will go on to learn that not only does the stove burn but mom

is concerned for her and that is why she says ?no.? Freud believed not

everyone reached the third stage of development called the super ego meaning

operation of culture within an individual. The super ego describes a person not

speeding on the highway not only because it is against the law but also because

it may be hazardous to society (Society the Basics 64).

As a child?s personality develops the brain is always accepting information

and reacts to exposure to media differently. America encourages individuality

and accepts a variety of behaviors or norms. This does not exclude the society?s

values. Being human is defined in a society by how well you follow a set of

rules and expectations by which the society guides the behavior of its members.

These rules of life are called norms. We all expect these from each other. Some

norms, like the value of marriage between two individuals, or the value of the

parent child relationship, are shared by the world, and others, such as female

mutilation, are only valued in certain cultures. Those who refuse to abide by

society?s norms in such a way they become a problem may be locked up, or given

a permanent record, or simply unaccepted in our society. We are all individuals

existing in this pool of other individuals. We must live together and strive to

enjoy the ride. This is how our society works. A person decides what his or her

values are going to be based on what he knows. It is a process that begins on

the first day of our existence (Society the Basics 288).

? The movies are an important social institution, going far beyond mere

entertainment. They are part of the development of modern society, and they have

helped to shape the way we live. Started at the turn of the century, movies were

the ideal entertainment for the urban working class, but they also appealed to

all classes in society. The movies were so popular, especially with children,

that they sparked calls for social control and inspired any studies of ?movie

influences.? The content of film can both ?reflect? and shape our society,

and there is close identification with film stars. The audience for movies has

always been a young one, and movie going is essentially a group activity. They

continue to be a major factor in our popular culture today. The author goes on

to explain how all culture when transmitted to the public becomes popular

culture. Not only movies but television also is profit orientated. Movies are

interesting because they seem to have a dream world effect challenging movies

companies to develop their productions to meet modern ?art standards when

realistically the major objective of movie making is purely profit. This can be

related to why bad movies are made. If a major motion picture company has

accidently made a terrible movie, the movie will be released anyways to make up

for the lost profits. In the 1920’s producers could count $520 million dollars

profit from each movie released(Movies as Mass Communication 67). This is a list

of the top ten movie profits from last weekend.

1 Exit Wounds $19,025,000 2,830 $6,723 $19,025,000 — 1 Warner Bros.

2 Enemy at the Gates $13,600,000 1,509 $9,013 $13,600,000 — 1 Paramount

3 The Mexican $8,100,000 3,162 $2,562 $50,860,000 -33.8 3 Dream Works

4 See Spot Run $5,210,000 2,656 $1,962 $25,018,000 -21.2 3 Warner Bros.

5 15 Minutes $4,350,000 2,337 $1,861 $17,948,000 -58.7 2 New Line

6 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon $4,118,000 1,860 $2,214 $100,350,000 -3.3 15

Sony Classics 7 Down to Earth $4,000,000 2,425 $1,649 $56,802,000 -28.4 5


8 Hannibal $3,700,000 2,433 $1,521 $157,211,000 -36.7 6 MGM

9 Traffic $3,409,000 1,682 $2,027 $102,469,000 -13.4 12 USA Films 1

0 Chocolat $3,400,000 1,901 $1,789 $55,900,000 -11.6 14 Miramax (The Numbers)

True these movies have ratings that supposedly describe the content level but

having home access to HBO allows instant access to all kinds of movies. I

tracked extended cable tv for two weeks and counted over a hundred movies that

were PG13 and above playing throughout different times. Any child with a tv in

his room could be exposed to movies such as Die Hard , Resivior Dogs, The

Sopranos, and many other high in violence content movies. If a child in early

stages of development is told hitting is wrong but happens to watch a movie that

tells otherwise it can be confusing. It is essentially parent?s responsibility

to monitor what your child views on an everyday basis.

This knowledge doesn?t effect or change anything on it?s own. Parents

must understand and use this knowledge. Media has always been the way it is and

the outlook is good it will continue to be the way it is. You can look at the

media?s extreme influence in many ways. It can be considered a socialization

tool, a money maker, an evil influence, etc. However media also provides

entertainment and sometimes learning experiences. This just is not a replacement

for parenting. Here a list of guidelines for monitoring your child?s media

influence. (1) Keep control of the tv set. Have rules and guidelines. (2)

Respond to what the child is watching. Do not just leave the child to view on

his/or her own. Watch the same programs with your child, and discuss them

occasionally. (3) Talk about your tv viewing with other family members. What are

older members watching when younger children are present. (4) Do not let tv

become a companion. Let music or silence be your background noise instead of the

tv. (5) Tv should never be a reward. You do not want the stimulation with being

proud of one?s self to relate with tv viewing. (6) Try tv fasts with the whole

family. Make it regular not to watch tv instead of vice versa (Children and TV 2

PG 64). Make sure your children receive the kind of attention they need from you

and the rest of the family. I believe if parenting was more focused and children

were exposed to less of the media our society would be a better place.

Work Cited Page

1. Hull, Louise. ?Sociology 101". South Puget Sound Community College.

Olympia WA. 2 January-16 March 2001

2. Macionis, John J. Society The Basics. New Jersey. Prentice Hall, 2000

3. Wehrenberg, Judith and Winick, Mariann. Children and TV 2, Mediating the

Medium. WA DC. Association for Childhood Education International.1982

4. Merchants of Cool. Shown in Hull lecture. Dateline. 2001

5. Statistics. Youthworker. May/June issue.1999

6. Top Ten. Exhibitor Reflections Co. The Numbers. 2001

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