This paper outlines the role of media in the society. It covers both the positive and negative effects media has on the members of the society. It also examines how media influences life. The use of media has largely been seen to have great influences on young children who grow up under the influence of various media forms, whose effects are translated into adulthood.
Media Artifact Presentation and Auto-ethnography
According to Oso (2011), Media is very important to society as it conveys symbolic culture and societal values, and transmits cultural expectations among members of the society. Films are among the most popular forms of media, which relay societal values, aspirations, challenges, as well as means of combating these challenges.
The main roles of the media are checking the environment, relating various parts of the society, responding to the environment and transmission of the cultural heritage. While some films may not overtly relay these roles, others such as documentaries and films based on real life events, come as close as possible to performing these functions. Media also has an important function in entertainment. It is a way of enjoying free time, which helps in reduction of stress, making it easy for individuals to handle real-life challenges. Additionally, media prevents the breakdown of society, and gives rewards to individuals.
Media is also important in the mobilization of the individuals in the society, especially in political and commercial propaganda. It has become an important part of man’s life as it communicates information needed in daily lives. Such information includes creating awareness on social, environmental, political and economic issues affecting a country. Films in their own way play a fundamental role in this role. Animated movies such as the Ice Age franchise and Rango raise environmental, political, economic and social issues, as well as depict the greed present in the society (Elanchenny, 2010).
The media socializes, entertains and promotes education, as well as help in choosing products and services to buy and sell. It helps to shape our personalities, attitudes towards skin color and ethnic differences as well as attitudes about sexuality. The depiction herein can however be both good and bad, as some films tend to be biased against some races, religion and people of a specific color, painting them in the negative. However, other films have been strong and vocal, dispelling the myths, thoughts and worldview that relates to the color, ethnicity and religions of different people in the world. Moreover, films can be used to sensitize the public about the crime cases in a nation, enabling people to be more vigilant, and discourage citizens who could think of engaging in crime.
Besides having positive effects on the society, media also has negative effects. These effects include exposure to some irresponsible behaviors (Berger, 2009). Such behaviors are propagated for instance in advertising cigarettes and alcohol, which can lead to indulgence by society members who may not know, or perhaps ignore the negative effects of these substances. This may particularly have a great effect on young children who may want to test the products out of curiosity. This is in addition to the high levels of violence, murder and hostility against people and specific groups of people as depicted in movies.
The use of media devices may be addictive, in that individuals may not be able to live comfortably without one form of media or another. For instance, if an individual is always used to watching films, it becomes difficult to take that individual to a place he/she cannot access such media due to either lack of power or mediums for watching the films. Moreover, when young children are exposed to adult content, violence, broken families, arguments and other conflicts, they may be poorly adapted to different stages of life out of fear and anxiety. This may also influence the children to engage in violence, getting into conflicts and be poor in establishing relationships. This is so because they may fear rejection and getting hurt just like it is portrayed in the films they watch. This is inculcated through watching films for long hours. It eventually leads to unhappy adults who become addicted to other forms of lifestyle such as unnecessary and excessive shopping and excessive watching of movies to provide relief, which only reinforces the childhood fears.
The media also helps in providing guidance and advice, in relation to various events and activities. According to Christians (2009), the media helps in providing citizens with an opportunity to air their views on various political issues and advocacy. It is a direct channel of communication between the government and its citizens. It is also very important in acting as a watchdog to hold the government accountable on various issues affecting the nation. Additionally, it plays the role of a vigilant informer in its ability to collect and publish, and in distributing information on behalf of various sources and clients such as the government, private advertisers and commercial advertisers.
The media is also very significant in broadcasting articles on touristic information from a country to the rest of the world, which helps in attracting international tourists, who help to improve the economy of a country. Broadcasting and film helps in arousing the curiosity of other people from different cultural and geographical backgrounds, and therefore helps in driving traffic to the broadcasting and producing countries.
Berger, A. A. (2007). Media and society: A critical perspective. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. Media studies: 2. (2009). Cape Town: Juta.
Christians, C. G. (2009). Normative theories of the media: Journalism in democratic societies. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Elanchenny, S., & Maraşlıyan, N. (2010). Breaking the Ice: The Role of Civil Society and Media in Turkey-Armenia Relations An Evaluation of the ‘Dialogue-Building between Turkey and Armenia’ Project. Istanbul: Istanbul Kültür University.
Oso, L. (2011). Mass media and society in Nigeria. Lagos, Nigeria: Malthouse Press.