The function of mass media is to aware or inform masses about the happenings in the world. The television, internet and newspapers are the most predominant forms of media today. Television has a massive impact on our generation. Many sections have become vulnerable to what they see and what they are told as they stay glued to TV or laptop for hours. People try to imitate their role models and their activities; they see it as a social norm or a style statement. Media affects all aspects of youth’s life, from how they should look and what they should wear and own.
Media sensationalises things to grab the attention of masses. It can portray someone or something in such a way that the masses either favour or go against the person/ thing mentioned. Journalists are humans, and so biases can cover the news at a personal or basic level, for instance, a public figure’s reputation can sometimes be misleading as a result of bias. Modern mass media also serves the interests of political leaders and corporate to a considerable extent, thereby influencing public opinion as ‘What you see is what you believe”. Media attempts to provide unbiased information, and ethically they must not present their views on a subject but present the issue as it is. So, if politicians manipulate an event or activity and get coverage, deceptive news will reach the audience. Not everything that we take on face value is correct.
We are consumers of information and all the glossy glamour that we are subjected to mislead us. What starts as a curious exploration ends us becoming a destructive habit. Youth becomes fashion-conscious, and eating habits are adversely affected. There are misleading advertisements which give false claims; from beauty products that promise whitening skin to deodorants that attract women, all have an impact on a significant section of viewers. For the youth, it has become a trend to chase the unattainable perfect image that the media shows us.
Many are trapped in the world of daily soaps which add no value but show ways to conspire against people. We don’t even know it, but it plays with our thinking manner and capacity. When we are engrossed in such programs for long periods, we start to think the way TV characters believe. Movies too are influential, people who see fast cars drifting; bikers doing stunts, actors jumping from buildings follow it blindly and get into accidents.
Social media too misleads often as only certain information or news on it is authenticated by authorities, else is just false rumours. People become victims of such unreliability. Pop-ups, advertisements develop a habit of excessive spending too because we are misled into buying things that we think will benefit us because a social networking friend has validated it. Job ads, insurance premiums can be misleading; we are exposed to so much information that we don’t know what to trust and many a time we choose the wrong track.
Studies reveal that the media has a significant impact on children with obstinate and ignorant behaviour. It affects psychology and communication methods. They consume more of flashy information than educational and develop an insensible view of the world. An exaggerated warning of the harmful effects of an object will be taken seriously by a parent who will take it away from a child. Media has also become entirely commercial; it is seen that fear-mongering and sensational news sell more than balanced news. It has been witnessed that adolescents are acting as adults from a much younger age. They are expected to be more knowledgeable on adult’s topic. Being exposed to adult content forms a viewpoint in them at an undesirable age, and we expect unrealistic things too from them.
Media does not intend to mislead us, but many do get mislead. It is up to us to either take the things as they come or realise that not everything is good for us.