Since the 18th century, the development of media has profoundly shaped the world in which we live. As a society, we are excessively consuming content through new modes of media allowing trending patterns to develop that are impacting society and individuals in many ways. This has given rise to many issues related to the influence of media on audiences
These days, obesity is a growing issue and has been linked to people’s overuse of the media as we are spending unhealthy amounts of time on screen. In regards to this matter, there is a common judgement that the media is to blame for an audience’s state of health. Although, is this really the case? Can we blame the media for an individual’s actions??
This is where media audience research can appear to be misleading in terms of media effects, especially when quantitative data is sourced. Yes, quantitative data shows that there is a correlation between overweight people and their overconsumption of the media, however, this does not mean that a causal relationship exists between the two. A more suited approach can be adopted such as qualitative research methods. Qualitative data is more appropriate as it allows for observation and the analyse of outcomes including emotional responses and impacts upon individuals. These research methods can aid us in our endeavour to learn about the varying effects of media on audiences. However, these research methods do not take into account individual perceptions, social and moral values that may also contribute to their resulting behaviour and actions.
From my knowledge, in attempt to appropriately understand the complexities of media audiences and their effects, media audience research needs to consider an individual’s social and moral values as the effects of media can vary according to the different social and behavioural contexts that an individual may be subjected to.
This leads us back to the question: Is the media at fault for our individual actions??
Media is a powerful influence, however I believe that the power to act on our own thoughts and values originates from within ourselves. So my answer is, no. No the media is not to blame for obesity, or for our own lifestyle choices. The media is available for our use, but it is our choices that dictate how we use it. It is our choices that govern our own actions. It is our habits such as consuming unhealthy foods and a lack of exercise, that lead to complications such as obesity. It is our responsibility to be mindful of how much media content we are consuming and how much screen time we are spending.