The media plays a very important role in the socializing of children. Infact, media could be said to be the foster parents of children. Children find themselves in the company of the media a bit too often, especially if both the parents find themselves engaged in bread-winning options. In such cases, parents are not left with a lot of options but to leave the child in the company of a nanny and the media, or many a times, just the media.

The media, in one way or the other, leaves behind several positive and negative effects on the child. Some negative effects are due to some of the faults the media inherits by virtue of it being an incomplete reflection of life. Despite all its attempts to present a faithful picture of the society, the means of communication we have are unable to convey the entire message in the appropriate manner.

It has to resort to symbols and signs in its attempts to portray the multifarious life of an individual. This way, it breaks the depiction of the life into stages. Each stage of life cannot be given equal importance since the entire plot has to be dealt with within a definite time. But the time slots are sold to commercial enterprises. Media barons do business for the money they get by virtue of selling time-slots. They earn profit by showing advertisements to the businessmen, not by showing programmes to the public. They are not concerned about what would be found interesting by the public, but what would bring them good revenue.

This is a double-edged sword; the media moulds the interests oft the masses towards the content it delivers. In a way, it sets the agenda for what the public should think about. It makes the masses think along the lines of the media barons, it makes the masses think on the line of businessmen who provide advertisements to the media. They control the content shown in the media. This way, media shuns programmes and news items that could be against the interest of the business group it stands for, and it propels programmes that could be in favour of business groups.

It would be wrong to say that the media delivers what the masses want to see. Avenues of feedback for programmes aired in the mass media are very limited in nature; rather there is no feedback possible for the programmes delivered through mass media. In this situation, media barons press the buttons they want to; they mould the tastes of the public by repeating the same message. News items are filtered keeping this in mind.  Repetition of the news item found to be favourable for the business group or its philosophy leaves a lasting impact on the masses. The items not favourable to the business groups are not portrayed in the media at all, or are not given enough attention.

Repetition of the message brings out the greatest fault latent in media and mass communication. Repetition of the same message is a way of enforcing its authencity. Repetition of violence in news and related features could instill the appropriateness of violence to solve problems of life. A lot of violence in the society is partly because of its glorification in the media. Although some element of poetic justice is deliberated in the programmes, villainy goes a long way before it is punished. Elements of dishonesty are glorified to the extent of perfection, they are repeated several times, and the repetition is long enough to leave a lasting impact on the viewer.

Considering that most of the viewers are children, the important consideration is that violence is pumped in through media into children. With ever increasing incidences of kidnapping, extortion and murder being portrayed in the media, violence is seen as a way of life in the contemporary society.

Another important area where the media cannot deliver is that the time frame gets reduced when it has to present emotions and nuances of life. What takes a long course of time, probably years and decades in the normal course is to be portrayed in just a few minutes or a few hours. This means minor events have to be exaggerated to such an extent that they appear to be happening in real life. Minor incidents of an injury or small incidents of violence are highlighted to form the cream.

The symbolic nature of mass communication is also responsible for the exaggeration of things. Exaggeration is seen as the key to make things seem real in the media. Since emotions cannot be displayed on the screen or through airwaves heard on the radio, emotions are displayed when people react in an exaggerated manner. Tears trickling down the cheeks of the protagonist are an efficient way to show the grieved state of the protagonist. Emotions of grief and sorrow can never be shown in an objective manner on the screen or through airwaves. A woebegone face with a physical injury or even a remnant of a wound conveys the message in a more appropriate manner. Exaggeration of emotions serves to make it appear more realistic.

The aspects of life closer to reality in the media are the advertisements. They are meant to enforce the luxuries that modern life has put before us. They make us wish for them to the extent that we end up buying these items. This is what these advertisements are meant for.

Advertisements are the main source of revenue for the media. Advertisements go a long way in generating the opinion of the masses regarding a particular entity. These advertisements go a long way in deciding the content that is delivered through the media.

Media barons are, to some extent, forced to tailor their content as per the tastes and interests of the business parties that provide these advertisements. In this way, businessmen hold the remote controls of the programmes aired on television or radio or internet. Media barons are forced to show programmes that corporate world wants the public to see.

In the mad race to earn money, the corporate does not value the good or bad effect of the content on the masses; it pumps in whatever is good for itself. At the end of the day, media should assume its responsibility as the guardian of the generations yet-to-be-born, and it should foster positive development of the children through the content it delivers. It is time the media gave up the craze for money and stop lobbying business groups.


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