One’s emotions, opinions, and actions are affected by others and the environment one is living in, and this is what social psychology is trying to explore and explain. When we turn on the television, open the morning paper, double click to get on to the Internet and read up on our latest celebrity gossip in our favorite tabloids or magazines, our attitudes, self esteem and thoughts change. Whether we admit it or not, the media shifts and shapes our society in a plethora of ways. We put our trust on the media as an authority to give us news, entertainment and education. The social influence of mass media on kids, teenagers, adults and society in general is so big that we should know how it really works. Sometimes we tend to explain our and others’ behavior entirely in terms of personality traits and underestimate the power of social influence and the effect of media on us. This is called fundamental attribution error.
This video reflects how media is everywhere around us, and how its social influence affects the individuals. According to a study done at the University of Washington, 54.3% of high school students have Facebook accounts, which affected them as consumers. The political blogs encouraged more students to engage in politics. Black Students became more conscientious after engaging in the program of “Don’t Sleep.” The teens pregnancy rate went down because of series like “Teen Mun.” Therefore Media matters and affects people’s perception, which makes social psychologists very interested in studying it.
As media has positive effects, it also has many negative effects. An example of Media’s manipulation, an article titled “Media Influence on Self -Image: The Real Fashion Emergency” by Alison E. Field, ScD, describes how media affects self image and what young people do about it, mainly young girls. She claims that with no bias towards race or age or marital status, only to the frequent readers of fashion magazines, she came to a conclusion that “the popular media are partially responsible for creating unrealistic body image goals for young females.” Seemingly, the more a girl read a fashion magazine the more likely she was to be unhappy with her body figure. This unrealistic body image affects the self-esteem approach, and sometimes contradicts the basic psychological human motive: the need to feel good about ourselves. Almost all the women and young girls need to see themselves as beautiful, perfect, and gorgeous. They might even distort their perception to preserve their self- esteem. Therefore, when they found themselves facing a universal unrealistic construal of beauty, this causes a distortion in their perception and construals, making them feel unhappy and unsatisfied all the time. Therefore, the percentage of young women suffering from eating disorders is increasing.
Don’t you wonder about the number of the shocking news that every time you open the television or check the morning newspapers you find? It is the power of social interpretation that plays the major role here. the relationship between individuals and situations, which is a two-way street: how situations influence individuals and how people perceive and interpret the social world and the behavior of others. These perceptions are more important than objective aspects of the news itself. It is not about whether they are true or not. It is not about professionalism and the honesty in conveying the news to the public. It is all about money and profit for the writers and authors. They only want to attract more viewers to gain more profits. And in doing that they manipulate the viewers’ perceptions of the news and situations that are happening.
Field, Alison E. (November/December 2000). Media Influence on Self-Image: The Real Fashion Emergency. In Healthy Weight Journal. Retrieved 15 Feb.2014, from undefined.
Gore, Creesha. (29 nov. 2012).The Effect of Media on Society. In Youtube. Retrieved 15 Feb.2014, from undefined.
Kell, Jim. (4 ovt. 2009). How the Influence of the Media Creates the World Around Us. In Yahoo Voices. Retrieved 15 Feb.2014, from undefined.