We are currently in the 21st century and the world has fast become a global village – with advancement in various sectors of life. The world of electronic media however is changing dramatically. Television which dominated the world in the 1970s has been capitulated by all cell phones, IPOs, video games, instant messages, social networks etc.
Current research suggests that electronic media and the mass media in general pervades that everyday lives of people living in western societies and even developing nations like Nigeria and undoubtedly one of the effects of such media saturation is the pervasive transmission of societal ideals which manifest in various forms. The influence of electronic media can be viewed from various angels/aspects.
The youths make up approximately 80% of the population, which is the inclusion of teenagers and young adults. They represent a target audience of various kinds, an audience conscious of their image, hence they are target of audience of producers and advertisers. With adverts like: “How to pull off those sexy abs”, “Trick for a tiny belly” open for consumption to the teenage population through the various types of electronic media, the result can only be catastrophic.
In terms of body language, the media bombards the young girls minds with images of skinny models, making them feel that they are a few pounds heavier than they are supposed to be, which makes them unacceptable to the society.
As a result, a lot of teenage girls are dieting to have this super-figure. They all want to look like “Miss World”, “Miss Universe” “Miss Tourism”, etc. The end result can possibly lead to eating disorders or causing severe health issues for them.
Boys are getting obsessed with their body because they always see well-built men on commercials and shows. Staying fit of course, has never been an issue but there is an alarming increase in the number of people who adhere to obsessive weight-training and use anabolic steroids and dietary supplements that promise these boys bugger muscles and more stamina for lifting.
In respect to sex, statistics has shown that television shows and electronic media make it seem normal for children their age to engage in sexual relations. The young teen regards the electronic media as the number one source of information about sexuality and sexual health. Being open about sex, how they understand it and talk about it to their boyfriend or girlfriend is largely because of what they see and hear. With the advancement of technology and a mass of ready information on various issues, it cannot be argued that what people see and hear influence them and in most cases define them.
The current day trend of music does not in a way help matters- gone where the days when a song depicts an emotion, transmits a message that is of the well-being of the target audience, when a song was actually arranged, when there was a difference between the lyrics of the song and the instrumentation in the song, but today everything is all jammed up, its like a cat fight for authority and you will be lucky if your ears listens unscratched. Of course, not forgetting the blaring of loud music with vulgar and despicable lyrics of sexual content has continuously lingered in the lives of the teenage population.
Media violence can lead to aggressive behavior on the teenage population and this is strongly supported by a research that states that when a child hits the age of 18, he/she must have seen 20,000 acts of violence of television alone. Young people become desensitized to the real world violence. They cannot easily tell the difference between real life and fantasy, that the violent images they see on television may seem real to them.
Laptop, computers, cellphones and handheld internet devices are rapidly becoming basic equipment for today’s teenager. To say that the electronic media has great power over the teenage population would be an understatement. This is obvious with the countless number of cybercrime and cyber bullying mostly perpetrated by the supposed teenage population.
The electronic media is a potential threat to the value set by parents, educators, churches and other agents of social control because the media is now regarded as continuously offering model of behavior. The electronic media has moved Africa from its original platform, gradually swept her culture away, leaving us with a culture I cannot begin to describe.
Finally, the influence of the electronic media cannot be said to be all negative, because first of all, the electronic media serves as an educational tool. The electronic media is believed to cause change but the issue that persists is, will this change be positive or negative?