Effects of Mass Media

Disclaimer: This is a non-profit blog. The content is purely for learning and entertainment reasons.


Effect Categories:

Cognitive – affect our knowledge and thinking about something

Affective – affect our feelings about something

Conative – affects our behaviour towards something or someone

Time-scale – an affect may occur on different timescales.

As wonderful as media is, there are still cons to it. The access to and use of media will connect us with other people. This exposes us to their opinions, thoughts, ideals, and taste. Often fashion trends will reign over many streams of media. This will of course paint an image for many or the average media consumers. The image being perhaps, how one should wear their clothes, or what clothes to wear in the first place. All these things will contribute to how people want to he seen and perceived by others. This can be a good thing when helping someone find confidence in themselves. But often it can lead to detrimental views on one’s self image.

The coverage in media as well as the representation of various happenings and scenarios can cause people to become desensitized to various themes. Themes such as violence, nudity, and sex for example. These are things that happen in the world all the time of course, but people are being introduced to them and their severity much sooner than they would have been before new media became widely spread.

Through discussions on forums and comment sections, and in discussions found in newspapers and magazines, people are always stating and sharing their opinions on topics being covered. Now as valuable as opinions are, often someone’s opinion could be wrong or not as close to the truth as it should be. But because of the mixed information they may have received through various, or only one source/s, their opinion on a topic may have very unsound reasoning behind it. This being due to the reliance they have and trust they place in their sources, while not choosing to challenge the information they receive.

Due to having access to all that’s happening in the world being displayed on the device we hold in our hand, our culture has become lazy. There is a lack of intrigue or desire for discovery. If we want to learn something about another country, or hidden ruin from centuries back, we just need to open up Google and find an article on the topic. There isn’t any great reason to get up and find something new, because all the discoveries one may desire can be accessed through their phone so what’s the point of leaving the safety of your home if everything can be accessed and delivered to you?

Media has often been used for things like propaganda. Leaders in the past, and even now still, have made use of media to manipulate the thoughts and opinions of the people they rule over. An example of this would be Nazi Germany during the second World War. Films were made to show the way Jewish prisoners were being treated. The films of course were scripted and did not accurately represent the lives of Jewish people in the camps. And yet, many people were shocked when they discovered the true brutality of the concentration camps. The effects of this led to much ignorance and prolonged pain and despair. This is one of many examples of the effects media has on society. Of course there are more positive ones, like uniting people under a flag or in a march against unfair disadvantage. The point is that there are always effects around whatever media is used for because of how many lives mass media connects to.

The effects of media cannot be avoided. They will be all around us everyday. Many of the effects it has on society are also unintended and not planned by anyone specific. These effects would be things like: cultural change, collective reaction, socialization, etc. Each one of the effects brought on with mass media can be either short or long term. Both having impacts nonetheless. No one can be excluded from the effects either. Everyone will experience them.


Potter, W.J.P. Media Effects. Sage Publishing. https://uk.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/45690_Chapter_2.pdf

Kawinga, R.K. 2018. Short and Long Term Effects of Mass Media, lecture PowerPoint slide. Displayed during lecture at SAE Institute, Woodstock Exchange, Cape Town, South Africa.

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