We live in a day and age completely dictated by our media. From printed word to television, we can’t escape the latest Hollywood scandal or the most popular Disney show. Still, as the amount of television we watch rises we are faced with the same nagging question. Does media influence our behavior?
My whole childhood I was taught that television would rot my brain and teach me to be a crummy human being. Now we see this argument all the time, an outraged group of parents preaching about Miley Cyrus or Family Guy. America lives with this perpetual struggle of censorship and morality, but can we really blame all our on problems Seth Green? As a society we’d like to believe people are never fully responsible for their actions. Throughout history we’ve always put some bigger-than-us driving force behind everything we do. When we see a story in the news about the rising rates of teen pregnancy or school shootings we’d like to think it’s all because of media. That the sex and violence we see on T.V. possesses to do crude and ruthless acts. No one wants to believe that little Johnny down the street could possibly do THAT, but little Johnny wasn’t suddenly changed by thirty minutes of Comedy Central. Chances are Johnny already had some problems he was dealing with.
Since television, newsprint, and music are so readily available in our culture, media seems like the perfect scapegoat for all our problems. However, while looking at violent or animalistic behavior we can’t just look at one part of the equation and expect to solve the whole problem. We can think of an example where we look at two kids growing up in America. One kid comes from a well off and stable family while the other comes from poverty and a broken home. These two kids could have taken in the same amount of media, seen the same violent images on T.V., yet the sad statistics say the kid from poverty is more susceptible to “bad” behavior. If we took media completely out of the equation that doesn’t account for all the things a kid might experience in real life. There is a multitude of things in this world we need to fix, we should focus on some of our more pressing problems before we zero in on media as public enemy number one.
I’m not trying to convince you that media is completely guilt free. Sometimes producers and writers take things too far. Those parents who spend their days writing letters to the editor are only worried because...