The effect of Media Essay

This essay has a total of 813 words and 4 pages.


The effect of Media





In America, women are known as the breadwinners of the family. They go off to work in the
morning while their husbands spend the day cleaning and cooking, some may even have a
part-time job. Employed or not, the husband always makes sure their woman is fed after a
hard days work. Do these statements sound ridiculous to you as an American? Are they
even feasible? Not in this country, here things are the complete opposite. How do we
know that? Because we have been socialized since day one of our existence to believe in
gender separation, as well as all other aspects of American society. So who does this to
us? Family, friends, schools, and churches are a few. However, in this day in age, a lot
of our socialization process is assumed through the media. Commercials, cartoons, printed
words, spoken words, pictures, movies and videos are all part of that socializing agent:
the media.(Davis & Pallodino,1997)

As an adult you have more of a choice in whether or not to believe what you see and hear.
As a child though, you do not. “…if an audience is na´ve and unaware that the
message is intended to persuade…the message is more likely to succeed.” (Davis
& Pallodino,1997) The minds of children are like blank slates just waiting to be permeated
with the ways of the world. A way in which this process works is vicarious learning.
This is a method “whereby people acquire new…attitudes and corresponding
behaviors through observation rather than through direct experience… (Cafferata &
Tybout,1989) Children are constantly subjected, therefore socialized, by the media, that
they are unable to form their own opinions and biases to attach to their clean slate.
Although vicarious learning is mostly observing, and can consequently be anything, it is
shown most strongly with advertisements. Viewers experience the reaction of a person who
is rewarded, associate the reward with the product being advertised and then acquire
positive feelings about the product. (Percy & Woodside,1983) An example of this when
referring to children has been in hot controversy over the past few years. Cigarette
companies are constantly trying to defend the fact that they try to lure young kids into
the world of smoking through ads. These ads show attractive settings, maybe a beach with
clear blue water and carefree and happy people, maybe a couple, of course with a
cigarette. Kids who see this, observe a carefree, cool lifestyle want these benefits for
themselves and begin smoking. This illustrates how easily children can be convinced.

We always thought cartoons were harmless, animated figures are purely entertainment.
However, kids begin with cartoons that easily socialize and next thing you know,
“Americas young minds are spending two to four hours a day viewing…
(t.v.).” (Spicher & Hudak,1997) Studies show that children recall more information
if it’s presented verbally and visually- such as a t.v. screen.(Walma van der Molen
& Van der Voort,1997) In a society where we use the boob tube as both entertainment and
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