The Influence of Mass Media on Youth Culture
1 . . . Introduction
What is the mass media?
The dictionary tells us that it is:
"those means of communication that reach and influence large numbers
(Collins Pocket English Dictionary, 1981 edition)
To many people, however, it is something much more sinister - a
monster that seeks to manipulate and control public opinion. A
flotilla of highly entertaining novels and films draw upon the idea of
a tyrannical government secretly controlling zombie-like citizens,
using the mass media as its weapon. Ironically, these conspiracy
novels and films themselves are simply another aspect of the media.
But perhaps - especially now, when we are more exposed to forms of
mass media than any other previous generation - the seeming fantasies
are not as fantastic as we might think. Certainly times have changed
significantly since George Orwell first wrote his chilling novel,
1984. For example, Hitler's government proved that it was possible to
persuade an entire nation to ignore - or even to condone - horrific
acts of inhuman cruelty on a huge scale. This could be done only
because of the recent expansion of the mass media to include radio,
film and television, meaning that there were now more potential ways
of influencing the general public. And making the most of this in
numerous propaganda campaigns, it proved frighteningly easy to control
what was considered to be a sophisticated and intelligent population.
2 . . . Hypothesis
The question I have been posed asks:
"Does the mass media influence youth culture?"
Through a series of questionnaires, surveys, and experiments, I hope
to be able to provide as accurate an answer as possible to this
question. However, before I even begin to obtain any evidence I can
hazard a guess as to what the outcome of my investigation will be.
Having briefly explored in my introduction the power the media already
wielded some sixty years ago, I think that it is inconceivable that
any age group - be they young or old - are not at all influenced by
the mass media today. For me, the real question is "to what extent
does the mass media influence youth culture". The digital revolution
has produced a new form of media that only a few decades ago was
unheard of - the Internet - as well as providing hundreds of extra
television channels. Therefore, as the media physically reaches more
and more people in an increasing variety of guises, so too,
inevitably, will its influence over our lives. I believe that the
results of my study will reflect this and all my views on the subject.
3 . . . Methodology
In order to answer the question "Does the mass media influence youth
culture?" it is necessary for me to conduct a series of surveys
concerning the mass media within the culture I...