Media Panics Essay

1220 words - 5 pages

A media panic or often referred to as a moral panic, is a term that describes how the media is formulating issues amongst our society. Over time, our culture has shifted and caused for many conclusions regarding media panics and the relationship between youth and the media culture. Based upon previous knowledge and course readings, I have drawn a very disturbing conclusion; this being that no matter what age, children are willing or non willingly now under surveillance to determine what kind of role media is playing in their lives. With what I have gathered from the readings and class lectures, most authors strongly believe that different forms of media directly influence children's thinking or perception. What authors and researchers continue to imply is that there is a direct correlation to what youth today see on different forms of media and their behaviours. However, it is important to remember that children are humans as well and do have a mind of their owns. Our society cannot assume that these media panics ultimately take away their ability to think on their own and develop into mature individuals. The first media panic I will discuses is how video games have developed a relationship with violence amongst our children. The second media panic is the sexual objectification of young women online.

First, it is important we define what is meant by media panics. Danish media scholar Kirsten Drotner (1999) defines it as “emotionally charged reactions on the appearance of new media” (p. 593). She continues to explain media panics as a power struggle between adults and how they push to control the media choices of youths. These media panics develop because people fear their children will only learn through technology and not through human interactions. The fear of easily influenced children being heavily persuaded by new media may indeed have a cultural impact and create a moral panic, which is why it is important to investigate two examples of media panics and why they have played such formative roles in thinking about young peoples relationships with media culture.

The popularity of video games containing first person shooting, has opened the door for speculation on its direct connection with many shootings in schools and other violent events involving young people. Author Stephen Kline (1999), mentions how youth and aggression has led to a series of shootings in both the USA and Canada. Comparing video games that deal with shooting and young children's aggression creates an easy area for parents to fear for the actions that may come with hours of being exposed to the violence. Kline notes that these video games are helping build a a sense of aggression within the children playing them. Violent games are beginning to seem more realistic and without even knowing it instructing children how to use force or weapons on others. Children are starting to feel more engaged with what is happening on their screens, therefore formulating a fight...

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