Does Media make you fat- Blog Post (From Lecture Tuesday 10th March 2015)

This blog is from the lecture which was in the Hope Theatre on Tuesday the 10th March 2015 at 10.30am.

The concept of “media effects”.

What are the current anxieties about media effects?

The internet has changed the way of individuals and how they interact with one another. In fact, this generation has been brought up with the idea socialising is based online.

The recent technological advances in social communication and social bonding is crucial psychological aspect of being human, there are some people who find social interacting difficult, which leads to real life anxiety.

Current research in social and media psychology is beginning to explore how people use social network sites like Twitter and Facebook and not much is known about Social Networking Sites might affect individuals who are socially anxious.

History of thinking about the media audience is often portrayed as

  1. Gullible Victims
  2. Easily influenced
  3. Feminised
  4. Childlike

In the 19th Century, the emergence of the ‘mass media’ and a growth in literacy. Every new media form inspires anxieties about its possible negative effects with the Dystopian view in July 1995.

As we know, people use computers and the internet to do ‘good’ things and ‘bad’ things. In other words maybe it’s not the media we should be questioning, rather we should question the people.

Then perhaps the media doesn’t make you fat (or violent or anything), but what you put in your mouth, how much exercise you get, what your genetic make-up may be. Social norms… are all factors that need to be taken into account.

What is the dangerous media?

The terms that come under dangerous media is:

  • Popular Literature
  • Film
  • Comics
  • Television
  • Digital Media and
  • Mobile Phones

The Victims of Dangerous Media are:

  • Children
  • Youth
  • The ‘Uneducated’
  • (The Working Class)
  • Women (odd outcome of second wave of feminism
  • ‘Not Me’

The Problem with Communication

The problem is linear models that assume a non-problematic transfer of knowledge…


Communication Models

The concepts are entropy, redundancy, noise and channel capacity.

The sender encodes the message, the receiver decodes the message, but the question is if they share the same code or do they have different interpretations the code!

The transmission model leads to

  • The magic bullet theory
  • The ‘hypodermic needle’ theory
  • Each model leads to the assumption of causal

The history of experimental audience research reveals on-going attempts to demonstrate and measure the relationship.

The media-violence debate is also an example of the effects model.

American Communications Scholar, George Gerbner undertook ‘content’ analysis of ‘televison’ shows from the 1960’s ‘to prove’

That exposure to violence is cumulative in its effects, that violence on the screen ‘cultivates’ violence in society.

But what else contributes to violence in society?


Children’s cartoon films are especially violent. e.g Looney Tunes Wiley E. Coyote and the Road Runner

VIolence a characteristic form. More characters are shown as victims of violence than as progressors.

The killers in communications are:

  • Family Dysfunction
  • Poverty
  • Alcoholism
  • Marital Breakdown
  • Neglect
  • Bullying

More recent anxieties are

  • Cyber-Bullying
  • Cyber-Stalking
  • Consumerism
  • Loss of Innocence
  • Anti-Social Behaviour

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