Media Diet: Why taking a break is an amazing idea

Did you know that according to the Nielsen report the average American watches 34 hours of television a week? When divided out, thats 4.8 hours of television per day. Now, take into consideration kids over the summer — you guessed it, the numbers escalate quiet a substantially.

When you take a look at how society has changed over the past decade, you might contribute those changes to the people that change within it. However, these changes are largely due to the change in the media’s influence. Things have escalated to an unhealthy degree. We are over stimulated, over used, and thrown out at the end of the day just to sit down to watch something that separates the family and promotes the diminishing of values. We are human, and there are values that come with being human. One, very important value is to be kind to one another, something that seems to be made into a joke in the mainstream media. We are seeing the rate of bullying increasing, along with the divorce rate above 30%(CDC). When individuals are spending almost 5 hours of their valuable time in front of a very influential television set – daily, you may not be a sceptic as to if we are being influenced, sometimes hypnotized, by the media.

According to Prof. Mary Lopez(Occidental College, California) reality television is thought to be responsible for the increase in crime rates for those who participate in the reality programming via television viewing. Laguna Beach has seen a significant increase in the number of sexual predators in addition to changes in illegal behavior from local teens since the debut of the MTV reality show, Laguna Beach. Furthermore, many reality television stars have experienced robberies since allowing the public to enter their homes through reality shows via television and only subscription services like Netflixs and Hulu.

Everyone says how video games are violent and that they make those who choose to play them more likely to be violent in their everyday lives and in their adults lives consequently.  Now, the research has shown that the same outcomes are prevalent after watching reality television.  Researchers argue that watching violent acts that are unscripted can cause viewers to imitate the acts in their every day lives. ”Aggression portrayed realistically is more likely to be imitated than non-realistic aggression” (Nelson).  There are three types of aggression- physical, verbal and relational- and this article touches on all of them and their role in reality television programs explored in a study in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media.

We live in fast times where there are so many sources available to choose from in where our psychology has a hard time differentiating from what is healthy and what is detrimental. The  chief matter is our mental and emotional wellbeing. When these two things are in order the rest of our life may seem to be more organized and we are more rational, logical and productive.  Things of this nature need to be protected and cultivated — mass media is not doing this, it’s become a hindrance.

When a mind can be made to believe anything or persuaded to act via media influence, the people within the society need to take charge and speak their voice for they know is right and wholesome. Unfortunately, it seems that many want things to change but few seem to act in accordance to those wishes. Ultimately the importance of having a critical mind cannot be emphasized enough here. Implying the question: How many people must be hurt before change is demanded?

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