Media and Its Effects on Society

Topics: Television, Television program, Television network Pages: 6 (1969 words) Published: September 14, 2010
S. Jade Flewelling
Ms. Melissa Hicks
English 225, Section 23
Final Paper Draft 1
The media is an obvious factor in the increase of violence, risky behavior, and obesity in kids in our society. Television programs and movies are becoming more and more violent, and more abundant to fulfill the demand for an overly desensitized audience. For any type of television show or movie to be considered good and entertaining it must excel in at least 3 categories: blood and guts, curse words, and the most important element of all how believable are the scenarios. The good guy must prevail, even if it means murdering 25 men in order to rescue the super hot defenseless heiress. It’s sad really, for some it is engaging and entertaining as long as the graphics and cinematography are good. Parents wonder why their 13 year old daughter dresses provocatively, and why their 15 year old son has begun smoking cigarettes. The need for linear progression of violence and risky behavior continues to grow. Where will it stop? At this rate it won’t it will keep growing, but what’s the point when no one can really be shocked or surprised anymore. The line between reality and virtual reality is blurring for some people, allowing them to become more and more capable of doing the unthinkable. The question is whose responsibility it is to monitor the quality of the programs that are abundantly available in our society. The Constitution is television programmers’ main defense when posed this question. According to Professor Doug Linder of the University of Missouri-Kansas City explains in his website the role and value of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech or expression with the hopes that exposure to such things will promote tolerance. A tolerant society is a better society (Introduction to the Free Speech Clause). Though yes, the First Amendment serves to protect our individual rights, we as a society have a responsibility to regulate ourselves and w hat we deem acceptable. There is a misguided assumption that the words tolerance and acceptance are one in the same. Tolerance is something much different; it doesn’t mean that people have to accept things as right. People have every right to disagree or denounce something however they do not have the right to threaten or harm their opposition, unless it’s in a movie or a video game. With the increase of the amount of media available to children there is substantial increase in the amount of overweight and obese children in America. The National Institute on Media and the Family reports that nearly 30.3% of children ages 6 to 11 are overweight, and 15.3% are obese. For teenagers ages 12 to 19 the number of teens overweight amounts to nearly 33.4%, and 15.5% are considered obese. Even more troubling, the number of cases of children with Type II Diabetes has been continually increasing over the past few decades (Media Use and Obesity Among Children, Par. 2). Furthermore, it was stated that children who watch more than three hours of television per day are 50% more likely to become obese than kids who watch less than two hours, the recommended daily amount (Par.3). Obesity is not a result of the quality of media kids are exposed to, it’s the quantity of hours television is available to children. Dr. Goutham Rao, clinical director of the Weight Management and Wellness Center at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh estimates the number of hours watching television in a child’s life will outnumber the amount of hours they spend in school. Even more astonishing is that children are spending more time watching television than any other activity other than sleeping (Rao, 70). Parents are using televisions as babysitters. Dr. Rao also found that 20% of 2 to 7 year olds have televisions in their bedrooms, 46% of 8 to 12 year olds, and the numbers just keep getting worse, 56% of 13 to 17 year olds also have televisions in their bedrooms. In...

Cited: Media Use and Obesity Among Children. November 2006. 3 April 2009.
How TV Affects Your Child. October 2008. 2 April 2009.
Stanton, Carina. “TV Viewing Good and Bad for Kids, Seattle Study Says.” The Seattle Times. 5 July 2005. 3 April 2009.
Rao, Goutham. Child Obesity: A Parent’s Guide to a Fit, Trim, and Happy Child.
Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2006. 68-84.
Linder, Doug. Exploring Constitutional Conflicts: Introduction to the Free Speech
Clause. 2 April 2009. .
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