Media Influence on Audience

“There have been a number examples where politicians or/and the print media have made allegations that music, film or video games have been responsible for injecting ideas into the heads of a vulnerable audience i.e. children and teenagers.”

Task – Choose one item from your cabinet of curiosity and think about the following propositions:

1) In what ways could your media object ‘influence’ the minds of a vulnerable audience?

2) What possible negative ‘effect’ does this media object have on the audience and society?

Jonny

The piece of media i have chosen to think about from my cabinet of curiosity is the gossip magazines like Heat, OK and Hello. I chose this because I think they best fulfill the ideas about influencing their audience. This is because a large percentage of their audience are teenage, and sometime younger aged girls, who will read, believe and copy what they see in these magazines. The first way in which this media could influence a vulnerable audience would be the way in which models are shown to be extremely skinny. This has had a lot of attention recently in the news about the size zero model and this is because it is influencing young girls, in particular, to lose weight. Reading these magazines is causing them to be constantly unhappy with the way they look because they are confronted with skinny, good looking celebrities and models of which they want to look and be like. The link below is an article relevant to my point stating children as young as 8 are being treated for eating disorders. A quote from the article states,

“reading the magazines, which frequently “ridicule” celebrities who appear to have put on weight, was associated with teenagers skipping meals, binge-eating or forcing themselves to be sick after eating.” 

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/10/31/children-as-young-as-eight-treated-for-eating-disorders-91466-27573012/#ixzz14iiT7pu1

Another way in which they could influence a vulnerable audience would be to publish things about celebrities which may not be true. This would influence the audience into believing something about a celebrity or famous person that is false, for example they were gay or they were addicted to drugs. Even if the stories are true they can have unwanted negative effects on both the audience and the celebrity it is about, as it can damage careers and peoples perceptions of others. Also, advertising a drug addiction could in ways, help to promote the use of the drugs to a vulnerable and easily influenced audience; and this has its obvious negative sides.

The overall negative effect this could have on the audience and society would be to create an age where some people are so worried about how celebrities look, what they wear or do, that they let it effect their own lives, sometimes for the worse. This can lead to such problems as explained above for example, the size zero models which caused some young girls to starve themselves and / or become ill through bulimia and malnutrition etc.

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