The media has both positive and negative influences on people. The media can make a person more aware of what is happening on a local, national and global level, or it can warp one’s perspective of the truth. The media has the capacity to ruin society by encouraging false ideals, praising selfishness and making the possession of fame, fortune and talent qualifications to be considered a valuable person.
A society with strong moral roots is in direct opposition with the media landscape on many levels. According to the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, some media messages have been linked to the cause of numerous health concerns for youth. Television, movies and the media may also encourage people to spend money, become promiscuous and take drugs and alcohol to fit in socially. Images used in entertainment can provide graphic, sexualized and negative representations of what life is like and what is considered acceptable.
Young people are especially influenced by the media, and youth of all ages and cultures try desperately to imitate the prominent, glamorous role models they observe in the media. Many youth develop eating disorders, low self-esteem, psychological complications and experience other difficulties by internalizing negative ideas found in movies, television, radio and advertisements. Negative media influences can warp the values and conduct needed to steer youth in the right direction.
The media influences the public by sharing news with an opinionated perspective. The personal values of owners and operations of media businesses impact the information shared. The personal perspectives of reporters influence the stories they cover and the personal spins they interject into stories. Technological advances provide venues to reach a larger audience than was possible in years past.
Editorial items also impact media influence since editorial columns report the author's personal opinion on a political or social issue that is based on facts and research. The mass media delivers a message to a wide audience and also has the ability to target specific groups of people. The public media uses its influence to expedite shifts in social values by spinning the reports in order to encourage their audience to reassess their opinions on the presenting issue.