Mass communications are an inescapable aspect of modern life. Internet, radio, television and print media combines to inundate the average person every day. In fact, a typical person in the United States is exposed to more than 3,000 advertisements in just a single day. In addition to these advertisements, individuals are exposed to plots, pop culture references, stereotypes and more that influence and shape our personalities and the way we view the world. Read on to learn a little more about the top five ways that mass communication affects your daily life.
1. Body Image and Self-Esteem
One of the biggest ways that mass communication influences individuals is by impacting their body image and self-esteem. The majority of men and women featured in mass media are fit, attractive and thin, making average citizens feel inferior. Young women and girls, in particular, are susceptible to the belief that they are in some way inferior or unworthy after being bombarded constantly by these images. Fortunately, there has been some effort recently on behalf of magazines and even television advertisements to feature men and women of all sizes, races and shapes.
2. Consumer Spending Habits
Since individuals are exposed to such a large number of advertisements each day, it should come as no surprise that they can have a huge influence on the spending habits of consumers. When individuals are confronted in the grocery store with two untried but similar products, they will typically pick the one with the best brand recognition through advertisements. This applies to buying cars, picking fast food dining establishments and even choosing where to go on vacation.
There are many factors that shape an individual’s values, including religion, personal beliefs, family upbringing and social relationships. In addition, mass communication and the media shapes a person’s values significantly. Watching shows where promiscuity is considered the norm, for example, might convince teenagers that it is socially and morally acceptable for themselves as well.
4. Perception of Individuals and People Groups
Individuals create their own opinions of people over time through their actions and past perceptions. By watching television or reading online articles regularly, you will start to replace your own opinions with that of scripted stereotypes and presumptions. This can ultimately contribute to racism or sexism, as these characteristics are often grossly exaggerated in the media.
5. Femininity, Masculinity and Relationships
Being constantly inundated by forms of mass communications in the form of the Internet, television, print media and radio can result in individuals having skewed opinions of what constitutes femininity, masculinity and a good relationship. Television viewers might come to expect certain things from potential mates that are unrealistic, or they may become disillusioned with their own relationships due to what they see on television.
There can be no doubt that mass communication has a huge impact on the daily life of just about everyone in the modern world. As Jim Morrison famously said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” Individuals should be vigilant about what they watch and how it affects their own values, beliefs and opinions.
Image courtesy Doegox
Author bio: Joni Yates writes for several higher ed blogs. Several universities offer a masters in mass communications that prepares students for entry into communications fields.