“Mass media (television, the internet, advertising) influence youth too much nowadays. ” To what extent is this true? In the recent years, the prevalence of mass media has been undeniable. All over the world, youths have access to mass media through their smartphones, television sets and computers. In such a media-driven world, it is no surprise that mass media has come to play a substantial role in the attitudes and mindsets of youth. To a large extent, mass media does have the power to influence youth too much nowadays as seen through increasing consumerism, commercialised perceptions of beauty and loss of individuality.
However, it is also true that the youth are not completely controlled by mass media as seen through innovative thinking and creativity in young people. The media’s influence on youth is seen through increasing consumerism in youths. Everyday of our lives, we are bombarded with advertisements through every form of mass media possible. Slogans like ‘Just Do It’ and ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ become ingrained in our minds through clever advertising gimmicks aimed at the youth demographic.
It becomes almost impossible for youths to resist the pull of the shiny new products that are ardently promoted by various industries. For example, it would be hard to find a youth who does not own an Apple product. The company’s worldwide success in appealing to the youth is due to its tactful advertising aimed at a youthful audience through the use of relevant and contemporary themes and ideas. Such advertising blurs the line between necessity and indulgence, easing youth into buying everything that the media sells them.
Hence, strategic advertising through mass media has very much influenced youth as seen through their materialism and overconsumption of goods. The media’s excessive influence on youth is also seen through perceptions that the youth have about body image and beauty. Movies and commercials on the television often portray models and actors to be flawless in their efforts to boost sales or appeal to the masses and in turn create unrealistic perceptions of beauty in youth. Models in commercials boast perfect hair and figure and actors flaunt their picture perfect smiles hrough mass media and end up defining the societal perception of looking ‘beautiful’. In extreme cases, the yearning to look ‘perfect’ manifests itself eating disorders and depression. The rising number of young people with eating disorders like Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia is not surprising in a society where people are constantly faced with images of stick-thin models. Similarly, the influence of mass media leaves several young people feeling inadequate, leading to depression. Therefore, mass media does influence youth very much, playing a large role in their emotional well-being.
The influence of mass media is also made obvious in the loss of individuality amongst youth. Mass media portrays its singers, actors and other media personalities in a very positive light, making them appear very appealing and likeable. We see them on television, hear them on the radio and read about them in tabloids. These ever-present media personalities come to have a lot of power and influence over youth as they acquire a loyal fan base. Youth easily begin to look up to media personalities and immediately try to imitate their appearance and behaviour.
This was clearly portrayed when hundreds of youth clamour to get the same new haircut as their favourite media personalities. Such fandom leads to individuals losing their own sense of identity. In addition, with so many forms of media giving youths information of all sorts, there is virtually no need for individual thought and opinion. The impressionable youth are hence especially influenced by mass media. Some may argue that mass media does not influence the youth too much despite its prevalence.
This is evident in youth who challenge the idea of mass media itself and instead of being influenced by it, influence it. An example of such a youth would be Mark Zuckerberg. At age 21, he founded Facebook, revolutionising social media and making his mark on mass media forever. Such innovation shows that youth are not entirely too influenced by mass media and that they too can make their own impact on it. However, the fact remains that majority of youth do not go about looking for ways to influence mass media.
Most are ignorant to the influence of mass media in their lives and do not look to change it in any way. Hence, youths these days are too influenced by mass media. In conclusion, I do believe that youth these days are too influenced by mass media. The increasing materialism, warped perception of beauty and loss of individuality clearly portrays the extent of the influence of mass media on youth. Despite the individuals who prove otherwise, the prevalence of mass media and its effect on youths cannot be denied.