Negative Influences on Mass Media

1. Media violence can result in desensitization especially in young children

  • Media violence does not need to affect adults directly in order to make adults more aggressive. More aggressive adults may have been affected years earlier when they were children.

  • For example, in a news release from media development authority (MDA), Programme Advisory Committee for English Programmes (PACE) highlighted that research conducted by the American Psychological Association. It had shown that media violence has links with childhood aggression and urged channels like “Okto” to refrain from scheduling so many of such programmes as young viewers can be easily influenced by what they see on television.

  • PACE also cautioned against having too many cartoons promoting violence, such as Power Rangers, Digimon, Pokemon, as watching too many programmes of this nature could have an impact on young children.

  • Children that are in a growing stage and are shaping their personality values and beliefs. They have a tendency to turn aggressive or lose a sense of reality and fiction of what they are seeing.

  • An example is how real war is used as a form of entertainment by the media. Teens should be aware that war is not a form of entertainment and that there is no win or lose like in video games, in a real war everyone loses.

  • The mass media will give them exposure to violence and over a period of time, they become numb to the violence and thus being desensitize blurring fantasy from reality.

2. The influence of online culture changes the way Singaporeans behave especially teenagers

  • Like many teens today, they were avid players of computer games. But unlike them, they were into spiritualism as well. In August last year, seven of them allegedly agreed to kill themselves so they could become slayers and save the world. His name was Ku Witaya. Inspired by computer war games like Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which he and a few others played, Witaya also believed that they were 'slayers'. He told his friends that they had to die in order to become slayers to kill demons and save the world. World War III was coming, he said. The coroner's court heard that they agreed to sacrifice themselves by ending their lives. The bizarre case made headlines last week during a joint coroner's inquiry into the deaths.

  • This is believed to be the first possible case of a mass suicide attempt in Singapore. Through the proceedings, a picture of Witaya emerged. Police said that he was very close to his circle of friends. However, he had told his father, a 40-year-old construction contractor that he wanted to quit school as he was very stressed with his schoolmates and teacher. Witaya was also said to have been affected by his parent’s divorce.

  • Overall, we have seen how excess gaming has taken control of teenagers’ fragile mind frame. This reflects the power of the internet, one form of mass media, imposing implications on individuals.

  • In a recent study, internet users in Singapore spent the most time in chat rooms as compared to other Asian countries, according to figures from global Internet measurement company NetValue.

  • Singaporean users spent 8 percent of their time and this could be because chat rooms are "a good way for people to make friends easily (rather) than to meet up in person", NetValue country manager (Singapore) Jack Loo observed.

  • This way of connecting with their peers makes them develop a culture of not able to communicate well with people and thus developing anti social behaviour.

3. Reifying ideal conventions of slimness and femininity

  • The media, fashion designers, and entertainment industries created an image that everyone doesn’t have. It is being extremely skinny. You only see these images portrayed by the skinniest and prettiest of models. This is considered the “ideal beauty”.

  • Whether it is being extremely thing, using violence, occupying sexuality, or wearing revealing clothing, this all has a negative influence over women.

  • For example, women are more obsessive with losing weight even when they are not obese, there are many thin women that desire to look like super models and thin celebrities thus engaging in eating disorders which leads to severe health issues or even death.

  • Eg. One other negative influence that the media have on women in recent years are anorexia and obesity. Millions of women are exposed to commercials and advertisements daily in the papers, on TV and the image being portrayed are femininity in being slim and even to the extend of skinny. The papers in Singapore are flooded with such advertisements (eg. Mary Chia, Slim Fit etc) and are being endorsed by celebrities.

4. Political and racial tension being raised in Singapore due to the influence of mass media

  • In 2008, a 24-year-old blogger was arrested for posting a racist rant on his website that has stoked an online firestorm. He described a man sitting on the floor of the train as 'smelling like he didn't showered in years' and said he was wearing 'some really scary dirty clothes'.

  • In 2005, two people were convicted of posting racist remarks on their personal websites. One was jailed for a month and the other was jailed for one day and fined $5,000. Such comments which will spark racial disputes are not being tolerated in multi racial country such as Singapore.

5. New media gives people more anonymity and lesser accountability

  • The new media, the internet give everyone the accessibility of being able to influence others in forms like blogging, forums and etc. it gives them anonymity and reduce their accountability.

  • Cyber bullying have been a 'flaming phenomenon' in Singapore in recent years. There are cases such as a Primary 3 pupil of an all-girls school in the East was repeatedly called "ugly" and "irritating" by her peers. She insulted in school, but these comments were also being posted on online blogs. Her mother, a housewife in her early 40s, only found out about her daughter's trauma after she realised that she is feigning sickness just to cut class. The girl has undergone school counselling since then.

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