Dun, dahn, duuuuhhhhhnnnnn! Dramatic pause, closely cut shot of media conglomerates eyes twitching in horror – a bead of sweat rolls down the forehead of every major multinational media corporation as the realisation hits them – they will cause their own undoing.
‘But how?’ you ask; why let me explain…
It was brought to my attention by the lovely Sue Turnbull in our BCM110 lecture on Wednesday, that there are particular anxieties and concerns when it comes to the media and their audiences. These include not only topics such as the radicalisation of children, the impressionability of particular audiences, and censorship however it seems that the coverage of these issues stem from the media itself.
In a rapidly developing technological world, it’s fair to say that the media must constantly reinvent itself which can, in turn, give way to new moral panics within our society. In my opinion, an anxiety about media and the role it plays in audience’s lives that has remained a constant over time is the assumed impressionable nature of audiences – and I was glad it was addressed in Wednesdays lecture on Media Audiences.
Backtrack to 15 year-old Claudia, who alongside her Year 9 debate team – who currently held an undefeated status – had just lost a debate on the topic of video games’ ability to encourage violent and aggressive behaviour among children. Not only were we arguing for the sake of the win, our team truly believed that there was no significant correlation between the possibility of violent video games encouraging similar behaviour in youth. Several members including myself had younger brothers who had engaged at some point with games that hosted aggressive-behaviour, however none of us felt that the exposure would lead to possible criminal activity nor hostile responses in their daily lives. Yes, we did agree that exposure to these unrealistically violent situations may desensitise them in some way when encountering other forms of aggressively-toned media, although we felt the argument was missing one key factor: a humans ability to separate media from reality.
Ask yourself this: how many news articles and reports have you come across where the media has brought to light the notion that violent video games, films and television programs have the potential to increase aggressive behaviour among youth? My answer is: countless. However none of these reports to my knowledge have taken into account the fact that each audience member will come away from their experience with a different understanding; that they will be able to distinguish a carefully produced circumstance of violent behaviour from a real-life experience of aggression. You see the assumption that media is able to have a direct and unchanging effect or influence on its audience is also hinged on the assumed impressionability of their audiences – whereby a media source such as a news program is covering a negative story on another form of media such as video games. This begs the question; will media cease to continue reinventing itself into a decline, which could eventually affect all media forms? Or will audiences move onto new media anxieties before the last has time to settle?
For now, signing off,