Since the invention of Television (TV) in the 20th century, several effects have been attributed to the TV industry (Bryant, 2002). The industry is responsible for educating and informing and serves as a watchdog in our society. Several scientific disciplines have presented reports indicating how the mass media has influenced the political, economic and social sectors (Bryant, 2002). With these reported findings, the media owners have realized their level of influence in the society. As a result, it leads to fierce competitions in the TV industry. In this regard, the media owners have embarked on funding researches in the production of entertaining TV shows. Among the captivating topics in these shows are crime, hazards, and advertisements. These topics considerably manipulated that the viewers’ tend to believe the world is as unsafe as depicted. In this regard, the media fraternity requires the TV industry to meet the regulated standards. However, media critics still argue that the industry is not performing its duties appropriately. They allege that few corporations which have continuously refused to respect their status quo control the industry (Bryant, 2002). Psychologists have shown that TV shows have the possibility of manipulating the viewer’s mind (Greenfield, 1984). By conducting simulations, they have successfully proved that when one watches TV, the images are stored in his or her mind and are repeatedly sounded in the viewers mind. In this regard, our mental defenses are compromised, letting what we see control our brains.
It is claimed that TV advertisements only serve the media owners and advertisers and that there is no assurance these advertisements serve the society (Greenfield, 1984). These allegations have resulted in reviews on media policies by many countries. Particularly, TV shows have brainwashed the viewers and influenced their preferences and tastes conforming them to the advertisers’ needs. This has led to a significant increase in the competition among many industries. Some economists argue that diversity has been achieved through this competition (Greenfield, 1984). However, to my mind, the economists’ opinions are mistaken as too much competition results in the decreased diversity. This has been illustrated by several competing companies which try to duplicate each other’s products to realize the best profit in the market and as a result compromising diversity (Greenfield, 1984). In contrast, if one company manufactured the competing products’, the owners would strive to minimize the competition on the products; hence, manufacture different products enhances the diversity. Some people still argue that the increased diversity has resulted in the production of poor quality products. This is because with more competitors sharing the same market, each company realizes reduced profits. Consequently, the competing companies will end up spending less on the quality improvement. These negative effects of competition created by the media demonstrate that in order to improve diversity, media economists should establish the policies that solve the modern market controversies created by the media.
The TV’s influence on people
From advertisements and promotions, the media earns revenue accumulating to billions of dollars. Thus, every TV station strives to present unexcelled the TV adverts for effective results. Advancement in technology has resulted in complex captivating ads. After watching several ads, viewers base their buying decisions on what they see on TVs or other Medias (Singer, 2001). With time, the TV viewers become significantly trusting what is presented on TVs unlike concerning information from other sources. They start believing, that the products advertised on TVs are superior to other goods. Most TV shows are presented in a repetitive and persuasive manner. Thus, as viewers spend more hours on TVs, they tend to believe in the shows’ themes. Contrary to most TV viewers’ believes, TV programs constitute of more crimes and violence as compared to the real world. The movies scenes shown may not represent the real world scenarios. Because of being brainwashed, TV addicts usually over-estimate the level of crime and violence in the society and may end up thinking that the world is full of dangerous activities and individuals. In extreme cases, such people end up being fearful and resort to criminal and violent activities.
Among all groups of people, teenagers are the most affected by the TV industry considering that they have a lot of free time, the large portion of which they spend on watching the TV (Singer, 2001). They often try to emulate celebrities’ lifestyles by dressing and behaving like them. In this regard, they may end up engaging in undesirable acts, such as drug abuse, as they try to emulate their preferred celebrity. As teenagers reach adolescence, the peer influence starts to have a significant effect on their lives. They desire to be loved and become successful in their endeavors. In this regard, the media intervenes by creating the perception of awesome men and women while defining the characteristics of a successful individual (Singer, 2001). Due to their inability to fully comprehend this developing self-esteem, they end up struggling to live other peoples’ lives instead of living their own.
In the last decade, obesity among the youths has been greatly attributed to TV shows (Singer, 2001). The media encourages millions of teenagers to consume junk foods through their numerous ads. For instance, many high school students struggling with obesity find it hard to resist the persuasive ads luring them to eat junky foods (Singer, 2001). Moreover, many teenage girls and women have been obsessed with the idea of slimming to the extent that some adopt irregular feeding habits in the attempt to lose weight only to end up with numerous health problems (Singer, 2001). In addition, some children may end up being traumatized by watching violent scenes on TVs. In my opinion, children often fail to differentiate between fiction and facts in the movies. Their personality can be significantly altered by the movies and other violence oriented related shows. I also think that the TV has resulted in more harm than good. Our time, talents and skills have been compromised because of watching various TV shows. Because of its mass spread, it is estimated that all Americans will have spent more than eight years of their lifetime watching the TV (Singer, 2001). This represents a significant loss in man-hours which should have been utilized in constructive tasks. Currently, children rarely find time to read and to do their homework as most of them have devoted more than 2 hours in a day to watch the TV (Singer, 2001). This illustrates how individuals are sacrificing time, a precious commodity, to the TV.
Selection in the media
With increasing competition, several TV stations have been forced to become selective in their content coverage (Klapper, 1960). For instance, news editors have been blamed for being selective in the choice of news presented. Their choice is normally affected by the content value and political factors. Normally, the media focuses too much on social issues giving them a lot of coverage in its programs (Klapper, 1960). Occasionally, the theme of some TV stations’ news and programs has been prejudiced that the viewers complain of manipulation (Gentile, 2003). More often, several aspects such as reporters’ knowledge, deadlines, and the targeted viewers influence the news and programs coverage. Furthermore, the viewers have exhibited bias regarding the choice of TV programs and stations. These choices are determined by their needs and preferences. In this regard, people often select the most captivating TV programs leaving out those that they consider boring. In my opinion, with the introduction of numerous TV stations, the educative shows that benefit the public will eventually be replace by more appealing fictitious shows; hence, there is the need for appropriate policies to protect such valuable shows (Gentile, 2003).
Media effects on the society
Renowned sociologists have demonstrated that the media industry, by using TVs, has distorted political and economic forces subsequently manipulating the public opinions (Gentile, 2003). This is viewed as an abuse of power by the media industry. Through political manipulation, the media produces and natures awful leadership. Economical manipulations are concealed in the Media’s advertisements. TVs exploits the viewers’ unconscious characters to attract more viewers hence more ads. The TV has successful enhance the media-created fears in some peoples’ minds. This has led to the changed lifestyles and other social related issues regarding the victims.
In the past, people have evaluated a risk basing on the information they obtain from TVs (Schramm, 1971). This is mistaken, as the risk evaluation should be calculated using proven scientific methods. This illustrates how the media misleads the public on matters of the risk management by focusing on victims, accountability, and blame games. With controversies on risk awareness, the government has the mandate of educating the society on risk related issues. The society has a right to be educated on these issues in order to disapprove the myths created by the media community. The failure by the government in this regard will leave the community vulnerable to learn risk evaluation issues from other unreliable sources. Undoubtedly, the media will come into focus. This will result in more conflicts and controversies. Furthermore, the media, through TV shows, has influenced the individual and public opinions. The media is capable of manipulating any society’s views. For instance, the September 11 attack on the U.S was given a significantly unwarranted attention by the TV coverage that it eventually altered the public opinion on the war against terrorism (Bryant, 2002). As illustrated in this example, the media spread inaccurate reports in the society leading to the public support. Similarly, in the history of the U.S, the media, by using the TV, has influenced political surveys conducted during campaign periods (Schramm, 1971). This presents the possibility that some leaders may have paid TV stations directly or indirectly for more coverage during their campaigns in order to influence the viewers.
In my opinion, as viewers, we should insist that the television stations provide us with appropriate and productive contents in their programs. It is also necessary to become more vigilant and critical as we view TV programs to avoid being brainwashed by the often-misleading media information.