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How Mass Media Makes Psychopaths

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Scream (1996) is about its characters watching so many horror films that they know what to do in any ‘horrific’ situations. This shows how the children are influenced by the horror clichés from the mass media, movies, as they learn from the movies and bring it into real life. The statement refers to how that movies do not influence people to go psychotic but influence those who are already abnormal, more abnormal. I believe that people are heavily influenced by the media, whether they are a psychopath or not.

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Influence refers to “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something”. Media, which refers to “the main means of mass communication”, has the capacity to have an effect on people. This can be seen in the three main types of media, mass, social, and new media. Media has an impact on anyone who uses media, be it on technology, or traditionally. Media can cause a change in a society or individual beliefs when media has motivated people to make a change in their lives or those around them. Media has influenced people intellectually.

Media has positive and negative effects on people such as changing for the good or bad, which are by the influence of personalities on media. This is evident in the way people feel, think and act in a similar way as the influencer. According to the Professor of political science and director of the Equality Development and Globalization Studies Program, based on the social learning theory by Albert Bandura (1977), people are affected by others who are around them. When one sees someone on media platforms who possess virtues and abilities one aspires to have, they tend to act like the person. Media cannot exist without people. People all over the world have created content, which results in influencing others.

Mass media has influenced public opinion, education, popular culture, and the depiction of society. Similar to Scream, movies, a form of mass media, tends to influence people. It is not only movies, but television shows too. Movies and television shows bring you into a fictional world and can make you feel like you are in that world. As the show progresses, you feel more one with the show, resulting in having an emotional connection with the characters in the show. Even when the show ends, there will be this lingering effect which affects people’s behaviour.

According to the US National Library of Medicine, the average child watches 12 000 violent acts on the television annually, including murder and rape. It also states that more than 1000 studies have confirmed that this heavy exposure to violence through television has increased aggressive behaviour. This highlights how people, especially children are vulnerable to the influences online and act as they have seen in real life.

Social media is another influential form of media. Content online would sway you to follow or do whatever the aim of it is. Advertisers are coming up with more ways to grab the attention of social media users. Their marketing strategies result in people purchased their products, influencing people to buy the products. This can be seen on social media influencers’ platforms. They advertise products for companies to their large base of followers, where the majority aspire to be like them. And since they advertised those products, they think that the influencers would use them to become how they are like. They influence their followers to get the products.

The many influences on social media have caused many body image issues. People who are deemed as “attractive” to society are affecting people all over the world. With the pressure to look as good, teenagers result to photoshopping their pictures or having eating disorders in order to get the “ideal” body. According to an eating disorder treatment centre in Chicago, 30–50% of its teen patients used social media as a means of supporting their eating disorders. This shows how teenagers are affected by what they see on social media. The need to look “attractive” are ideas that came from the internet. They were influenced to look as good, which affected their health. This also shows the power social media has to influence people, to the extent that their health is at risk.

One common new media is blogs. A blog is an online platform for one to say his or her ideas can upload it publicly for all to see. One could say their opinions or ideas and the online community are free to comment on them. If their opinion is strong enough, people would be swayed by it and perhaps see situations differently.

Blogs are no longer just for sharing of daily lives. They are now part of the whole system of reporting politics. By reporting politics, people are now more aware and conscious of whom they vote for. Political blogs in the UK had a role in reporting political scandals such as John Prescott’s sexual relationship with his secretary and his meetings with the American billionaire who wanted to buy the Dome. They would not have carried the story by themselves, but they added elements that pushed it forward for mainstream media political reporting.

Despite these incidences, many claims that we all have our opinions and are not necessarily influenced by the media. The media cannot force an opinion on people. The media displays a series of news from around the world or the opinion of others. People simply need to be conscious of what they read and be aware that whatever they see or read is not their opinion. However, whether one tells themselves to not be swayed by the opinions of others, it is only human nature to be clout by the many voices of people. For people to not be influenced by the media, should media be controlled? Would that be for the greater good? Media is a privilege and when used wisely, can be of a great tool to humankind.

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