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Makins Sense Media's Influence on the Youth-Dr. Sonsona

Makins Sense Media's Influence on the Youth-Dr. Sonsona

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Published by: Ramir Philip Jones Sonsona on Jul 08, 2012
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Making Sense: Media’s Influence on Youth
Ramir Philip Jones V. Sonsona, DAMindanao University of Science and Technology Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
We live in an enthralling world and even more enthralling society. From themoment we wake up until the moment we go back to our beds, we avail of media. At the end of the day, you avail of the latest news from your televisionand crave for your favorite music over the radio and even log on to beconnected to the rest of the world through the World Wide Web. Our society isbecoming more and more capable of being constantly informed, entertained,and connected to the other individuals at the click of a button. Life withoutmedia is simply unthinkable. The youth of today is perhaps the most significantusers of media. As Burtina (2005) posits the idea that as intelligent as we are,with the freedom and ability to make our own choices, the issue on how muchinfluence does media have over our decision can be put to a test. This couldbe one of the stringent issues that can necessitate a lengthy explanation andcan provide a good avenue that there can be no doubt that media influencesus in innumerable ways.Mass media plays a vital role in the lives of the people in the society. It is a toolfor news, information, promotion, and a platform for sharing ideas. It has aunique capability to dramatize, to focus, to reinforce and more importantly, toensure that people participate in a process called bottom up communication.Not only that, mass media also contributes to the dissemination of informationand popularization of practices that all add up to the cultural heritage of anation. The mass media can be one enormous factor in our environment thatinfluences decisions and acts to inspire the youth. It is noteworthy that not allmessages that media projects, though, are not at all positive.Mckee (2009) has given some significant questions such as: Do you feelattempting a stunt from a movie? Do you base your fashion on what you seethe celebrities are wearing? Do you copy the hairstyle of your famouspersonalities? Have you ever attempted to walk model - like in an attempt toimitate those ramp models in fashion shows? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then it is fitting to say that media works positively in exertinginfluence in one’s life.
 Youth Culture
Media strongly affects youth culture. A teenager’s life has never beenconsidered “boring.” From cellular phones to iPod Touch, he would present thelatest Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber’s latest songs. You would also see danglingearrings to skimpy shorts and mid-rift blouses. Name the culprit – it’s themedia. Lady Gaga’s fashion and manner of dressing may be too much for ouryouth but who would want to be left behind? As the word bandwagon wouldapply, it simply means equipping oneself with media’s hype. There are superstars – from movie idols, singing sensations and a lot more tomention that introduce songs and dance crazes that become for a while part of 
 
2popular culture. According to Maslog (1992) only those with integrity are likelyto endure and become part of the culture. He continued by saying that the restare thrown into the dustbin of history. Examples of the more enduring musicalcontributions, perhaps, are the Beatles’ music, the Elvis rock and theArmstrong blue. They may not sound “pleasing” to the ears of our youth todaybut these are concrete examples of media’s propagation of popular culture.On the other hand, Maslog pointed media for the proliferation of fashion. It isnoticeable that every year the high caliber gurus of fashion led by ChristianDior, from their fashion olympuses in Paris, New York or London, make theirlatest pronouncements about the newest thing to wear for milady. Andannually the mass media dutifully report these pronouncements to a femaleworld waiting with bated breath to wear what Christian Dior thinks they shouldwear. It is fantastic to see how men can dictate to a world of women what theyshould wear year after year.Historically, we can recall how the mini skirt started in a small way in Londonway back in 1967. It was within five years the mini skirt enveloped the wholeworld, which caused a drop in textile sales, and became the symbol of thefemale liberation from social restrictions. In connection with this, then camethe maxi, a reaction to the mini, and then the midi, a compromise. If it not thehemline it is the neckline that is going up or down. Among those who becamepopular icons and styles are Marilyn Monroe, the GI pin-up girl of Vietnam,popularized the plunging neckline and the cleavage. After these, came the see-throughs and the Cardigan top, which is nothing more than a loose shirt or jacket worn over hot pants or bikini wear, thanks to mass media. What willhappen to the next millennium trend of fashion?
Candy, Vogue, Cosmopolitan
to name a few can give us the answers and for sure whatever it is the fashionpages of the newspapers, from television and movies will never tell a lie. Youths are the main targets of the sophisticated fashion.Accordingly, the media executives are quick to defend their participation whileselling millions of dollars in ads focused on youth. TV producers, networkexecutives, motion picture companies and others in the media deny anyimpact of their programs on the attitudes and actions of youth. Meanwhile theycontinue to spend millions on special effects and marketing geared to increaseappeal to youth markets.While corporations spend millions on market research and advertising tocreate products and campaigns targeted at a youth demographic, they stilldeny their ability to influence youth. If this were true to fact, would Nikecontinue spending millions every year onproduct development, marketing andadvertising? Would McDonalds still be using cartoon like character to sellhamburgers? Would music labels be increasing the level of violence and sexualcontent in the music geared towards the youth audience? Would liquorcompanies be using youth oriented activities in their advertising? Of course itworks on influencing youth and its ideals advertising would not be a multi-billion dollar a year business. If it had no influence, MTV would not haveconsultant on staff spending huge amounts of money to ensure them keepingup with youth culture (Agarwal, 2008).
 
3Noteworthy to mention is the Filipinos love for music. Filipino teenagersexposure to music can be described as “foreign,” this means that westernmusic especially American billboard chart dominates their world. Who wouldwant to be left out among the youngsters? Call it bandwagon. Pinoys arealways on the go with hip-hop, emo, boy band, and a lot more, which by originare all American influence. Who are popularizing these? Name the culprit -media.Aside from these, Partnership for Alcohol Responsibility (PAR) said that manytheorists suggest with evidence, that media has an influence on or affects oursociety, this can be verified in the way we think and the things that we do. Forinstance, advertisers are placing large billboards with ads that display thenames of alcohol, while television and print ads portray women as sexualobjects because alcohol and other beverages in print geared towards theyouth. It is also observable that there are a lot of young actors and actresses inthe Philippine showbiz endorsing alcohol and hard drinks which are not suitablefor teenagers. Come to think of it, the youngsters of today’s generation mayconsider them as their role models; however, the discrimination between theirendorsements and their personalities should be drawn. In connection to thiseven American media, both programming and advertising, are highlysexualized in their content. In fact, the average young viewer
 
is exposed to14 000 sexual references each year, yet only a
 
handful provides an accurateportrayal of responsible sexual behavior
 
or accurate information about birthcontrol, abstinence, or the
 
risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.
Profound Influence and Change of Behavior
 The media has a great impact in the way we act and think. It can have a deepinfluence on the behavior of its audience. Mckee (2009) posed a thoughtprovoking idea, he said that when people try to imitate something seen orheard, there is a difficulty in letting them distinguish between right and wrong. The teenagers of today often mimic or imitate their role models blindly. Whenthe
Korean
telenovela’s
 
became a big hit over the primetime televisionbroadcasting, little did the Filipino teens realize that their frequent visit to theirhair stylists would asked them to pattern their hairstyle from Dao Ming Si oreven Shan Chai (the two are among the stars in
Meteor Garden).
More often than not, what is highlighted in the entertainment industry is thewrongdoings of celebrities whom the young people idolize. And since they areheroes in the youth’s minds, they are celebrated despite the bad behavior theyhave been showing to the public (Mckee, 2009). This scenario is closelyattributed to social psychologist, Albert Bandura, who espoused the SocialLearning Theory. He explained that people learn through observing others’behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviors. Accordingly, mosthuman behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observingothers, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on lateroccasions this coded information serves as a guide for action. Social learningtheory explains human behavior in terms of continuous reciprocal interactionbetween cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences.

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