In today’s society we are finding an increasing number of media anxieties that are affecting different media audiences, one in particular being the youth of this time. Obviously there is always that person that screams “but what about the children!” no matter what the topic of conversation is, but when it comes to the rise of technology and the internet there are a lot more people questioning whether it is doing more harm than good.
There are a number of concerns when it comes to the youth of today and the sort of content they are exposed to by the media, one of which is the idea of a loss of innocence due to people’s exposure to violence, pornography and anti-social behaviour through video games, television and the internet. There have been many studies done that look at whether violence on television or in video games has an effect on the violence of the individuals who consume this media. One of these studies suggests that exposure to this sort of violence is cumulative in its effects and can lead to a change in attitudes towards such violence. This cultivation theory was introduced by George Gerbner and is still one of the most commonly used theories in relation to the effects of violence in the media. As children and youths are seen to be more gullible due to their lack of life experience, many believe that they are more susceptible to the effects of this exposure and are more likely to commit random acts of violence.
Another anxiety that has become a lot more prominent in recent years is the idea that the media depicts a distortion of reality, in that it tends to provide an unrealistic view of what people should look like in today’s society, particularly young women. Whenever you turn on the news or read a magazine or newspaper, there is almost always something about the way in which women should or should not be presenting themselves, often giving off the idea that they have to be perfect in order to fit into society. These ‘beauty ideals’ have been around since the beginning of time and seem to exist purely to make women feel inadequate in their own skin. There will always be the argument that we don’t have to read the articles or watch the videos or look at the pictures, but let’s be real; that’s a bit hard to do when it’s on the cover of nearly every magazine, in newspapers, on the news and now, all over social media. This widespread coverage makes it hard to escape, and can have the effect of changing young girls’ view of themselves.