This chapter reviewed the relevant literature on the effect of mass media on adolescents. The purpose of this review is to provide a background that would be appropriate for understanding what is currently known about the study. The theoretical and empirical information considered the influences of mass media on socialization of adolescent students. The influence of parental attitude on the use of mass media of adolescent students are also discussed.
In today’s world, media has made a very special place for itself in our lives. It would not be an exaggeration that today, media has become as important as food and clothing. Today different types of media is also very much helpful to educate and make a socially aware nation. The communication forms can be radio, television, cinema, magazines, newspapers and Internet-based web sites often play a varied and vital role in our society. They play an important role in increasing public awareness and formation of their views and attitudes toward certain issues. There is no denial that media is playing a very significant role in making the world smaller. Through various mediums of media whether it is radio, television, newspaper or internet, we are able to connect with large number of people around us. Thus the media informed the public about important social, economic and cultural issues as well as different problem of our society.
Television is first of all based on a kinetic image, graphics and sound elements. In his book, “Fenomenul televiziune” (“Television phenomenon”), Ion Bucheru states the fact that a live broadcast or an event described shortly after it took place, is seen, felt, lived by the viewer, that becomes with or without his will, an active participant in this conduct. (Bucheru quoted in karim 2016). Romanian press offered some examples, especially in the non-adult age, a teenager bay that stabs his sister to death, after watching a horror movie, an 18 years old that raped a girl, declaring after that he only wanted to act as he many times saw on T.V. (Adevarul, July, 17th, 2015). In other words, sitting in front of the T.V. for countless hours does not always degenerate in such dose of violence in one’s social life, but it does have an influence on the brain capacity to gather information and to maintain a good work performance, encouraging a sloppy lifestyle, this being a passive activity. Here the numbers are very concerning, 70% of the young ones saying that after spending time in front of the television makes them grow weak, tired and they develop an attention deficit which makes them unable to concentrate on their homework or on reading.
Neelamalar & Chitra (December, 2009) stated in Kumar (2015) described that not only T.V. every mass-Media instrument has a Huge Impact on our Way of Thinking. Media is a one-faced communication provider. It tells you what is there, and it pulls you into its grip, but it does not suggest you or tell you what problems you may face later with it. Media succeeds in creating a current successful impact on its viewers, but it does not provide sufficient information about the after effects of such a success. So we should watch out for who is trying to hunt us down!! (Suman Shafi, 2012). According to a recent poll, 22% of teenagers log on to their favorite social media site more than 10 times a day, and more than half of adolescents log on to a social media site more than once a day. Seventy-five percent of teenagers now own cell phones, and 25% use them for social media, 54% use them for texting, and 24% use them for instant messaging. Thus, a large part of this generation’s social and emotional development is occurring while on the Internet and on cell phones. Because of their limited capacity for self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure, children and adolescents are at some risk as they navigate and experiment with social media. Recent research indicates that there are frequent online expressions of offline behaviors, such as bullying, clique-forming, and sexual experimentation, that have introduced problems such as cyber bullying, privacy issues, and “sexting” Other problems that merit awareness include Internet addiction and concurrent sleep deprivation.
Political Socialization of Adolescents’
A. Moore 2017 explain the Role of the Media on the Political Socialization of the youth. In order to decide which party to affiliate with, which candidates to vote for, etc., people need to decide what they believe in. This is where political socialization comes in. Political socialization is “the process by which people acquire political beliefs and values.” (Bardes, Shelly, and Schmidt, 2014)
At the beginning of the 20th century, before the widespread use of the radio and then television, the media was limited to newspapers. Later, there were very few radio and television stations, and even fewer people who could afford to own them. Information was very limited. So the public was pretty much spoon fed what the government wanted them to know. There was a sort of unwritten code that the media didn’t “tell all.
McDevitt and Chaffee (2002) believe that “Adolescent children are not merely receptive to political stimulation; they possess the power to transform patterns of family communication in ways that benefit themselves and their parents.” They call it a “trickle-up influence.” According to Spark Notes editors (2010), “Although the bulk of political socialization occurs during childhood, adults continue to be socialized. Political socialization occurs in many ways:
- Family: Families mostly impart political culture unintentionally by acting as examples for the children. Very often, people end up with political beliefs similar to those of their parents.
- School: Most children learn about their country at school, usually through a curriculum known as civic education. This curriculum trains young people to be good citizens, often via history, government, and social studies. Although these lessons are usually basic, many of the key ideas and values of a society are imparted through school.
- Peers: At all ages, friends and acquaintances will influence one’s beliefs.
- Religion: Different religious traditions have very different values, and one’s faith often significantly influences one’s political views.
- Social and economic class: The social class to which one belongs shapes one’s views.
- Minority status: Members of a minority group sometimes feel like outsiders, and this feeling of isolation and alienation affects their attitudes toward society and government. This is particularly true when the minority group is treated either better or worse than others in society.
- Media: The power of media is increasing with the spread of 24-hour cable news networks, talk radio, the Internet, and the seeming omnipresence of personal audio and video devices, so the influence of the media on political socialization is no longer confined to the young.
Mass-media in Socialization: Lam Lik Jay 2016 describe the role of mass-media in socialization. Socialization is the primary tool in which culture is transcended; all beliefs, norms, traditions and values are passed down to every individual born into the society. Traditionally, it occurs mostly through social interactions with family, friends and the society of which we are members. Today, with the advancement of technology and the rapid growth of media outlets, interaction amongst individuals are not what it once was. We now spend much more time on our electronic gadgets, namely our computers, televisions, tablets and of course, our smartphones. With the average teenager spending more than 10 hours consuming media each day (L. Jay 2016), mass media is arguably becoming the most potent agent of socialization in our society today.
Mass media, which now includes Internet sources such as new sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and a myriad of new mediums, was previously just newspapers, magazines, television, radio and billboard ads. Regardless of the changes in platform, none of these media sources are avoidable.
Rance Crain, former senior editor of Advertising Age, states that “only 8% of an ad’s message is received by the conscious mind. The rest is worked and reworked deep within the recesses of the brain.” Thus, we are unknowingly being socialized by the media that surrounds us every day.
Living in a society where we are almost always consumed by electronic devices, Internet media such as online newspapers, magazines, Facebook posts and even celebrity tweets are becoming the main source of information for the younger generations and older generations alike.
A recent study by Tecmark, a marketing agency based in London, has discovered that the average user in the UK picks up their phone more than 1,500 times a week. It’s not just changing how we interact with each other, but also radically transforming the way people are socialized. We are now so focused on the lifestyles of the rich and famous that there were multiple articles about Ariana Grande’s change of hairstyle with the headline “This is not a drill,” as if it was shocking news. What does it tell you about our society when a girl taking her hair out of a ponytail receives more media coverage than a virus that threatens the health of the entire world?
When all we see are female celebrities on the news, it presents a whole new myriad of problems. Men like myself who have been constantly exposed to images of these undoubtedly airbrushed photos of “perfect” women, proceed to judge real women more harshly, holding them to a physically unattainable ideal of beauty, and women who have been constantly taught that their value lies within their appearance, work towards and inexplicably fail to achieve this ideal, face an array of mental health problems.
Well, men are increasingly being objectified, too; walk into a fragrance store, or a men’s underwear section, almost every packaging will have a man with unbelievably chiseled abs, and perfectly trimmed or no body hair.” What I failed to realize was that when women are objectified, they are usually framed as fragile, submissive and sometimes even infantilized. However, men are shown in strong, assertive, aggressive positions, never made to seem small, or vulnerable. And these all inadvertently affect our perception of men and women; it’s subtle enough that we don’t notice it, but it’s always there, working subconsciously into our thoughts and actions.
The advent of mass media has made possible the reproduction of information on a massive scale via the medium of both the print and electronic media to inform, educate, entertain, as well as transmit values thus establishing the mass media the most powerful communication force ever created by man. Considering the degree of information flow available through the mass media, and its possible consequences on the child’s learning capability, it has become pertinent to take a critical look at the diversified role of the mass media in the process of socialization especially at the childhood stage.
This shows the extent to which the mass media has become a major socialization agent in our contemporary society. This also makes the monitoring of what the children are learning very difficult. Overtime, this intense and frequent interaction between the child and the media has served to reinforce the efforts of the family and the school, but in most cases, it weakens and dilutes family and school influences in the socialization of the child.
The media may be directly utilized for education and indoctrination, as in educational television programs. Or the exploitation of all forms of communication in authoritarian societies where the regime systematically try to spread and sustain the values they approved. As message multipliers, the mass media should transcend all the other agents in the socialization process because of its ability to increase the number and speed of message delivered, as well as the size of the audience reached in very little time. It is reasoned that given the tremendous powers especially in situations where the mass media have been adopted as integral part of the learning process, its socialization capacity must be enormous.
Agent of Socialization
Socialization, though a lifelong process occurs intensively along the first years of life. In other words, at the time when children begin to learn the language, detailed rules of behavior and the value system of their culture. Of course, all electronic media function as part of national culture too, but they come from beyond the immediate family circle and its community linked support.
Chinoy noted that, the chief agency of socialization is usually the family or kinship group. But contemporary studies reveal that children spend most of their time with the media like television, video, radio, mobile phones, tablets, internet etc. than with their parents and thus making questionable, the saying that – the family is the most primary social institution in society.
Effects of Media
Hurlock listed five effects of television on children, firstly, television watching cuts into the time available for other play activities, especially outdoor play with other children. It also leaves little time for creative play or different forms of amusement. Secondly, television present material in such an exciting and vivid way that schoolbooks can hardly compete with it for children’s interest and attention. As a result, they often find schoolbooks and schoolbooks boring. Thirdly, characters in television are usually presented as stereotypes and children come to think of all people in a given group as having the same qualities as the people on the screen. This influences children’s attitudes toward them. Fourthly, since children are imitators, they feel that what has the stamp of approval of a television program must be an accepted way for them to behave. Because law-abiding heroes or heroines are less glamorous than those who win attention by violence and other unsocial acts, children tend to use the latter to identify with and imitate. Fifthly, many children believe that anything said on television is true and that the television announcers know more about everything than parents, teachers and doctors. Hurlock believes that all types of amusements of childhood like television watching is commonly hazardous to personal and social adjustments because, first, more time is spent on it than other forms of play and, it is less often supervised by parents and other adults than other forms of play.
The research of Musa Abu Hassan (1996) found that communication media had a profound effect on the youth change which involved three aspects of cognitive, affective and psychomotor. The dissemination of unethical information through the broadcast programs. The elements of violence and sex from import media, with hugging, kissing, hand-held, and eye-dressing women scene are widely broadcast by electronic media (Hamismo, 1991). In addition, the media become the reason of attraction and repulsion that influence hang out of adolescents’ attitudes. The attraction factor is the entertainment provided, the atmosphere is comfortable and prestigious. The push factor is the home atmosphere that is uncomfortable, noisy, narrow and not entertaining at all.
Despite the ease and sophistication of the world today, it affects the performance of an individual, especially the teenager who is still a student. This effect can come in short term instantly or in the long term that happens slowly. Media and communication are capable of producing good and bad impact on human beings based on the message they are carrying and it is also capable of forming and characterizing personalities according to the references (Aminudin et al., 2009).