Media Mayhem

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Something that will always be prevalent in our society is technology. Technology makes so many things accessible to any age group. One device that most American homes include is a television. Television is a source for us to waste our time watching drama, thrillers, comedy, adventure, etc. Television can entertain the human mind for hours on end with the new twists in each episode. On average, in America, every household has three televisions. A common question would be, how much does what we see on that screen influence our thought process and behavior?

Behavior has to do with how our brain works. Because of this, I thought it was a good idea to talk with senior, Kelly Maloney, who attended psychology class this year. When asked about how many TV’s she has in her household, she responded with the average American answer, which is three. During the day she has a lot going on with studies and sports, so she only watches television for a couple hours. Some of the shows that happen to grab her attention are drama, reality and criminal justice. When questioned about whether people get their behavior from TV or a different source, she responded by saying, “Teens get it from TV because they often want to be like a certain character or actor. If a teen sees someone who has a personality they’re interested in, they are bound to start acting like them.” 

According to research, effects of television on American children are HUGE.  Children who watch television at least four hours a day, can become numb to violence. When they accept this violence, it can lead to them imitating it causing serious consequences. There is a major increase in their aggression. The “LA Times,” states that out of all the shows on TV, “The Walking Dead”, “Breaking Bad”, “Game of Thrones”, “Dexter”, “The Vampire Diaries”, and “The Following,” happen to be the most violent. A good amount of the students watch at least one of these shows. I decided to talk to senior, Dakota Petrie, since he watches “The Walking Dead”. He says drama shows really catch his eye. I decided to ask him what he thought attracted viewers to this show and he responded by saying “It’s very suspenseful. It’s a zombie-drama in a new media format. We have never seen a TV series like this before. It keeps you on your toes and makes things exciting.”

Another topic that was brought up was the concept of celebrities. You can always find a magazine with a picture of a celebrity and a dramatic headline. Not all celebrities have dramatic headlines though; some can be a positive role models. When it comes to teenagers, these strong and upbeat role models can influence a teen to try harder in school, do good deeds for others, and learn right from wrong. With a negative role model, you get the exact opposite results.

One star in the media today that seems to be getting massive media attention happens to be, Miley Cyrus. Miley Cyrus first got the media’s attention on her Disney show, “Hannah Montana.” Since then, she tried her best to alter her image to show that she’s grown up, but she took a negative road. When asking several students about her behavior and whether or not they find it acceptable, “No, not at all,” was an answer that was heard loud and clear. I asked Kelly Malloney on her thoughts on whether a celebrity or a TV show is more influential and she stated, “Most likely celebrities have a huge hold over audiences. With a TV show, you have a fictional character. Something unreal. When they see people actually out there doing these drastic things, the attention is turned to them.”

I then decided to ask Dakota on his opinion on whether TV and celebrities have any hold over people and he states, “If you have good parents, they outweigh the influence of celebs. If you have bad parents, you go the media. It all really depends on the situation. BUT, I think media is more to blame in some situations because they blow everything out or proportion and dramatize it”.

I think the media does play a part in behavior. It all depends on who you are and who you choose to learn from. It also depends on what you experience in life.  All in all, it really depends on your personality and upbringing.