Week two of UOW – BCM110 discussed the theory of the media effects. It all started in the 18th and 19th century when Gothic novels took effect and mass media started to be produced along with the growth of literacy. For example the famous “Red Barn Murder” was introduced as broadways, plays, films, music, pottery and lots more (Turnbull, S 2015).
Often something goes wrong between the media sending out a message and the message being received by the audience. This in the lecture was referred to as encoding and decoding. The sender encodes a message and the receiver decodes the message, and it is often not what is seen or meant to be – often having the message taken the wrong way. This is all to do with interpretation of what the receiver receives from the encoded message. (Turnbull, S 2015).
Current anxieties within the media are surrounding us every day. We may not realise it at all, we might not realise if we are a victim or are guilty of convicting these anxieties.
Cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, anti-social behaviours, consumerism and loss of innocence are all anxieties that affect everyone, at least once or more in their life. These anxieties have surely affected everyone, even the most famous or just the plain, ordinary person on your feed.
Cyber bullying can be defined as bullying that takes place using electronic technology (<http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/>, 2015) . Everyone has surely been a victim of cyber-bullying. If you haven’t been, 1. You’re lucky and 2. You must have been taught well how to stay away from trouble. It is one of the most serious anxieties that teenagers in particular have experienced. Statistics show that within Australia alone, 27% of primary school students and high school students have reported that they have been bullied in 2014, this is lower than 38% in 2006 (<http://nobullying.com/bullying-statistics-in-australia/>, 2014) , but is still incredibly high leaving many students and young adults vulnerable as there could be many more cases not reported. If we look at Lasswell’s Communication Model, it is described as a message being sent saying something which then gets channelled by a medium to the receiver receiving the message leaving an effect on the person (<http://communicationtheory.org/lasswells-model/> n.d) whether it is positive or negative. If we look at how cyber bullying affects so many people it is because they don’t stop when the message is being turned into the medium, and they still received the hurtful message which would be classified as cyber bullying – affecting the receiver in a negative way. This leaves a negative impact on the individual that has been victimised to cyber bullying and can often leave the victim feeling, lonely, depressed and even suicidal at the worst. There has been an increase of known and reported suicides since cyber bullying has become a larger issue within the media.
When I asked the two girls I was babysitting (8 years and 10 years old) the other night, about what they thought of the media and the violence portrayed they gave me quite good answers surprising me – thinking why I didn’t think about this. I asked them a set of questions and explained the cultivation theory and this is what I got:
Question: Do you think the media impacts you when you see violence i.e. on the TV?
Answer: No, I don’t have the equipment like the swords and the magic powers (They were watching Merlin at the time on ABC3).
I then continued to ask them if they thought that their parents influenced them about the proper way to act and so on – the answer, a straight out “yes”.
I then found this very interesting and went on to ask why do you think children copy? They said because children are still learning and developing and they see these people on the television and in the media as role models.
“So then why don’t children copy cartoons?” I asked, “because cartoons are more interesting, entertaining and not realistic.”
These answers simply amazed me, I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t think they could answer me in such ways or even give me a good response, but I went on and explained the feral animal and emerging of innocence idea discussed in the BCM110 lecture and asked what they thought. Their response in terms of the ‘feral animal children’, “they have much higher energy levels” and now as I am writing this and I think about their answer, it makes sense – children now a days are not getting the activities and outside play that we would get as children. They come home and watch TV or play on their iPad or device compared to when we “generation Y” would come home, do our homework and go and play in the street until the street lights came on and we were lucky if we were allowed one hour on the internet. It’s all coming to me now, as it all unfolds at bed time.
I then continued to ask the girls about Road Runner and Coyote and whether or not this had an impact on their actions. They looked at my stunned like ‘what on earth – NO!’ They explained that Looney Tunes has a funny side which looses the idea of violence in the clips they watch AND that laughter gives off positive energy. My goodness, I don’t know where these girls pulled these ideas out of their head just before bed time, but they opened up a whole new world of my thoughts about the media and what they portray.
Therefore, it is easy to say that the anxieties in the media such as cyber bullying can be a serious issue and how it happens can be portrayed through Lasswell’s Communication Model. The model is important in showing where the message is received leaving a negative effect on the individuals involved. The sending and decoding of a message is vitally important when it comes to what the media shows because of the amount of viewers there are and how easily all types of media can be accessed and by who.
I have come to this theory that I want to leave with my readers to hear their thoughts:
If the media stops showing the violence around the world, will it all eventually stop? And what if we only show positive things within the media?
Communication theory n.d., viewed 19 April 2015, <http://communicationtheory.org/lasswells-model/>.
NoBullying.com, 2014. Bullying Statistics in Australia. Viewed 22 March 2015, <http://nobullying.com/bullying-statistics-in-australia/>.
StopBullying.gov 2015. What is Cyberbullying, Viewed 22 March 2015, <http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/>.
Turnbull, S 2015, Media Mythbusting: ‘Television Makes you Fat’, University of Wollongong, Wollongong.