Virtual Kollage: The disadvantages of mass media

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The disadvantages of mass media


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THE DISADVANTAGES OF MASS MEDIA
Introduction
Mass media can be defined as the communication medium that can be used to reach a greater portion of a nation or the world in an instant. In short, any means by which the bulk of the people receive information is regarded as a mass media. Note that any form of mass media reaches thousands, millions and sometimes billions of people at one go. A few examples of a mass media include, but are not limited to, newspapers, radio, television, the internet and now SMS messaging.

Mass media is categorized into the print media, broadcast media and the digital media. The print media refers to the newspapers, the magazines and journals. It may also include books, and pamphlets that are widely circulated. The broadcast media refers to the radio and finally, the digital media comprises the internet and the mobile phone.

In some respects, the media has failed the citizens of various countries. In some instances, the media has reneged on their watchdog role, thereby leaving the people to the mercy of the government of the day and other state actors. Some other ways in which the media has failed the people is discussed in the paragraphs below.

THE DISADVANTAGES OF MASS MEDIA
May lead to individualism
One of the disadvantages of a mass media is that the citizens may degenerate into individualism. Personal interaction with humans become less and less. This is because the people tend to spend too much of their time engrossed in what they are doing on the internet or watching interesting programmes on television that they have little quality time to spend quality with other human beings. It is common to go for a meeting and as the attendees are waiting for the commencement of the meeting, they are busy chatting on their phones instead of chatting with people who are physically present.

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Unsuitable content for children
Another disadvantage of mass media is that some of the content that is spewed out for the viewing public is not suitable for the consumption of children. This becomes difficult for parents who may not be at home all the time or have others to supervise the children. Some measures have been taken to limit the access of the children to such adult content but sometimes, the limitations can be broken as the children seem to know a few tricks more than their parents.

It may not be accessible to everybody
One other disadvantage of mass media is that it may not be available to everyone. Newspapers, for example, depend on sales in addition to advertisements to keep making profit. For this reason where sales are very low, the media house may stop sending their papers there. In other words, newspapers are geographically selective. In the case of television and radio houses, people can only tune in where the signals are present. Therefore, though the mass media is supposed to be available to all, it may not necessarily be available to everybody because of technical shortcomings.

Decrease in national productivity
The mass media contributes toward the reduction in national productivity. Some of the programmes are so interesting and long that people may devote precious time to watching these programmes to the detriment of being productive. An example is the soup opera that people devote at least one hour of every day to watching. This one hour could be used profitably or channeled into other productive work but this is not always the case. It is now a common thing to see television sets placed at work places. This may distract workers from operating at their optimum.

Does not express the general opinions of the masses
The mass media has been touted as one of the best tools to gouge the opinions of the people on a particular issue at a particular time. However, this may not always be the case. There are cases in which the opinion that is expressed in the media is not the opinion of the people. Sometimes it is the views of the people who control the media. These controllers may be politicians or even just business people who want to determine the direction of an issue in the public domain. Such people are able to skew the direction of public discourse to suit their parochial interests. So what comes out as the views of the public are not necessarily the views of the public but that of just a select few.

Give a semblance of legitimacy to drugs and alcohol
Some television stations and their content are such that the use of drugs and alcohol is commonplace. This makes it seem as if the use of such products are okay for everybody when in actual fact their use could be dangerous to the health of consumers.

Sometimes people are not what they claim they are
People can be faceless on the internet and claim to be who they are not. Successful business men have been defrauded through their interaction with purported business men on the internet. In other words, the mass media has become a den of impostors and fraudsters.

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It could be used to malign the character of people
Since the reach of the mass media is wide and vast, some people can use it for mischief. A damaging story planted anywhere in the mass media can damage the reputation of an individual in an instant. Even where an apology is rendered, not everybody would have gotten to read the apology and the retraction of the story. The image of the victim may be dented for a long time to come. There are laws on libel but a fake account could be created to cause the damage and this may be difficult to trace.

Advertisement can be a nuisance to viewing and reading pleasure
Media houses make their money mainly through advertisements. For this reason, they have to lace their programmes with paid adverts. Sometimes these adverts become a nuisance to the viewing public if it is a television and a nuisance to readers if it is a newspaper. A reader may buy a newspaper only to realize that more than a quarter of the newspaper is advertisements. This may limit his or her ability to enjoy reading the paper. In other words, the way media houses have increased advertisement on their networks have made their mediums less and less attractive.

Negative health implications
The prolong use of mass media, especially, the radio, television and internet is causing health problems to people. It has now been medically proven that a prolonged exposure to the television and computer screen can affect a person’s eyesight. In other words, watching television over a long period of time or using the computer for prolonged periods of time can cause eyesight problems.

ALSO READ:
The definition and characteristics of mass media
The importance of mass media

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