This writing below I made for my students. The idea of the writing not originally mine, but I got from many sources. Mostly from Father Yos Lalu Pr’s book ‘PAK bagi SMU’. May it can helful for us to discuss.
Mass Media: Types and Influences
Mass media has become an integral part of our lives and can not be separated from our life. Particularly for the urban people, the need for information is more important than ever. Our values and way of life in the society in this information era are strongly influenced by the mass media like newspapers, TV, radio, video, and the internet. Mass media’s influence on people’s lives is even greater and deeper than many kinds of state indoctrination or priest’s sermons from the pulpit in the church .The full range of unfiltered media is now available to most of us by using a parabola and satellite transmission. We can buy many kinds of videos freely. Access to the internet is easy and inexpensive almost everywhere. We can find many kinds of information using the internet technology..It is worth remembering that there have been three important revolutions in recent history, i.e. agrarian revolution in farming, industry revolution in mass production and information revolution that provides global access. We are now in the midst of the information revolution. Due to continuing developments in media technology, we are flooded by a huge volume of non-stop information. Most of this information comes to us without a filter or censor. The information can be positive and negative. It is important for all, and particularly teenagers, to be able to look critically at the information and the sources and make positive choices. Having a critical attitude means that we can distinguish between positive and negative information and make choices that will give us information that will benefit us and our society, Below are some things we can do to develop our ability to think critically:
ü Reading regularly
ü Attend a variety of training sessions on media, if any
ü Practice to viewing media critically
ü Ask and learn from the experts or mature and experienced people
ü Read the Bible regularly
ü Do daily reflection
ü Attend Sunday mass or worship regularly
Mass Media’s Influences
The research from the US tells us how many teenagers’ lives are seriously troubled. The results of the research show us that 43 % of teens in the US have used drugs and alcohol at least once. Around 1 million teens have left their homes and a half of them live as delinquent (naughty) boys and girls and the other half are drug users. About 2,000 teens from the age of 10 to 19 years old commit to suicide each year. Most of them come from wealthy families that are not harmonious. There is no love, caring and acceptance in those families.Many teens make all of their own choices about the media they use. No one guides them or restricts them from accessing any type of information that they choose.. Everything is allowed. Then the kids grow up and become people who are out of control.. They feel mature enough to make decisions on their own. Many forms of authority, rules, and norms are seen as an obstacle to their freedom and so, should not be followed. Ethics and morality are not really important for them. For many violence, crimes and sex are their daily life and concern. The research from the 1980s in the US shows us that teenagers between 16 and18 years old are wasting up to 16,000 hours of their time per year watching TV. In the same period, the violence and crime in US grew by 293 %. Times weekly magazine reported that the frequency of crimes committed by students in New York per month was the same as that committed by Japanese teenagers of the same age in a year.Here are some positive and negative influences of mass media on our lives:
C Positive Influences
Positive influences of mass media can be seen from several aspects or points of view:
- From media technology side itself
- From the side of the owner and sponsor of the media
- Unintended influences of the media technology and sponsors
a. The influences of media technology
Ø Media technology makes the reduces the distance between human beings. The world is smaller due to increased communication and access to information.It makes human being closer to each other in terms of space and thinking. We are exposed to a broad range of ideas and thought from all kinds of people from all over the world.
Ø Media technologies allows us as to take part ‘virtually’ in occasions and activities in other parts of the world. Through the media we know immediately about earthquakes, tsunamis, avian influenza outbreaks, etc that strike any areaon earth. We know about the results of champions league which is tacking place far away in Europe.
Ø It allows us to learn more easily and faster by using the internet.
Ø It help us to get the best results of pictures and sounds.
b. The Influences of the owner and sponsor
Ø Men can use the media to create and invite the people concerned with certain world issues like AIDS, drug abuse, mass killing, totalitarian government, etc.
Ø Media can help to create a positive and educated opinion. Media can be used to fight for freedom, truth and justice.
Ø Media can help us to relax by listening music, dance, etc.
c. Unrealized influence of media.
Ø Media can create a new cultures
Ø Media can changes people’s way of thinking about life, culture, existence,etc.
D Negative Influence of Media
a. Negative influences caused by the media technology itself:
ü Information is power and those who control the media empires have great power and a great responsibility to use that power positively. Those who have power over the media have real power in the modern world.
ü Media could create new cultures which change the old and original ones from the community. This could be both good and bad
b. Negative Influences that caused by the owner and sponsor
ü Media is business. In order to exist media providers must make a profit. The owners and sponsors tend to create a media environment that is driven by materialism, consumerism, and hedonism.
ü Media can create the wrong perception of prosperity. Prosperity is made out to be having an excess of material goods (cars, houses, jewelry, etc). Men are not measured by their character and dedication but by what things they have in life .It is promoted by advertising in most kinds of media.
ü Media can create stereotypes of beauty and style which is then imitated by citizens, like fashion and hairstyles, for instance.
ü Media can create a sensation of sex, violence, and horror which may be popular with the audience.
ü The owner, ruler, and media sponsor can make up any trick for their own business and politics interest.
c. Unrealized negative influence of media
ü People’s daily schedules and work schedules can be interrupted if most of our time is used by listening to music or watching TV. Communications between family members can also be reduced.
ü Sex addiction and violence has a close relationship to TV shows, movies and videos or chatting via internet or HP
ü The trend towards urbanization creates a constant flow of people coming from the villages to the city and is at least partly caused by the unrealistic glamour of urban life as shown on TV.
Mr. Maxi – from many sources.
(The writer is alumni of STF Driyarkara, Jakarta; Now teach ‘Character, Cultural, and Community Development at Sekolah High/Scope Indonesia TB. Simatupang, South Jakarta).