The Effects of Mass Media on Adolescents
Western Governors University
This Paper contents reviews of several studies conducted on the effects of mass media on children and adolescents. Most of the research suggests that over exposure and unsupervised use of mass media outlets can alter the psychological development of children, as well as create anxieties in adolescents. All of the researched reviewed examines the effects of all media other than book content.
Research has shown that consuming too much mass media at a young age can alter the social and psychological structure of adolescents. Mass media can even desensitize youth to unhealthy behavior and effect ...view middle of the document...
This causes a distorted view of “real life” and can lead to behavioral problems as well as social interaction.
Over the last several years there have been several studies on media violence in young children. Recently these studies have shown media violence exposure increases physical aggression across the developmental field (Ostrov 2006). This raises a concern that the physical aggression found in youth will only increase in future years. With the ability to access media almost anywhere, the U.S. Census has reported that two thirds of American youth have a television set in their bedroom. When the content of children’s programming is examined it was found that 70% contained physical aggression. This averages out to about 14 violent acts per hour as opposed to the less than 4 per hour in adult programming. (Comer 2008)
There has been a link established between over exposure to media violence and aggressive behavior, ideas, and anger (Kotrla 007). A study conducted in India reported that children having exposure to violence through media had poorer school performance and its impact on their psychosocial adjustments was detrimental (Kettl 2011). The same study went even further in exposing that the vivid display of violence on both the local and national news contributed to a higher stress and anxiety level in adolescents.
The importance of technology in children’s and adolescents lives is increasing, as well as the importance of mass media. However this growing importance affects their social and communicative development. Children and adolescents have begun to acquire electronic games, personal computers, and cell phones at ever-younger ages. Surveys indicate that about 82% of children are online by 7th grade and experience about 6.5 hours per day of media exposure (McIlhaney 2005). Technologically savvy children can use several devices at once, commonly referred to as media multitasking. Some children communicate more through electronic devices and spend less face time with family members and peers (Ray 2010). Text messaging provides a limited access to other people’s emotions, and the nonverbal communication that occurs in real-time interactions is lost.
The quality of family life may even start to suffer do to the obsession with technology. Consider how family dinner conversation might be affected if family members are watching television, listening to music, or playing on their phones. The act of media multitasking requires the brain to perform consecutive handling and switching attention back and forth. (Hartley 2014)
Research has found that the quality of work and capability of deep thoughts suffer when a person’s attention is divided. Despite the claims that children and adolescents work better when using media outlets, including listening to music, research has shown that their errors will increase as their attention is divided. Their divided attention therefore causing the work to take twice as long to complete. (Hartley 2014)