Different media have projected various issues about our lives in various ways. It is no doubt that the opinion and the views of the public, especially the young children and preadolescents, can easily be swayed (or controlled) by manipulating the content on the various media artifacts. People's opinions can be shaped by what their views are on a certain issue. Children learn about fashion and accessories from television and movies at an early age and they start to imitate these. Also, aside from making the children aware of the things that are meant for the older people, the media also serves to instill certain images of things and ideas into their heads. For example, many television shows and movies tend to stereotype different groups, like some movies showing how typical teenagers act in schools or how every man in a turban and a beard is a terrorist. These stereotypes become ingrained in the children's minds and they tend to follow these stereotypes in their real lives.
Since there are many different kinds of media in the world and since different people prefer different media as their source of information, the choice of media and the way the issue of information security is presented in each media is very important in making decisions as well as shaping people's ideas and attitudes. Today, we are being bombarded with information coming from television, movies, radio, newspapers, magazine, and most of all, the internet. This means that we have so much information coming to us these days that it has become very hard for us to filter out the relevant information and to also differentiate what is right and truthful from what is wrong and untrue. We find that the youths are most affected by television and movies since they are visual media and almost everyone is exposed to the most because they are very easily available and provides the highest level of stimulation. Being so visually stimulating, it can also be derived that television and movies have a different kind of effect on the people. What the people watch on television would then work to shape determine the attitude that the public holds for or against various issues. Television and movies can work to provide us with the information that determines our attitudes towards that issue. For example, if programs on the television keep showing young children wearing makeup and fashionable clothes, and the children keep seeing the same images, views, and ideas, as they are enforced on related media such as magazines and the internet, it is very likely that they will start accepting and believing these ideas too. Similarly, television and movies can work to create many stereotypes (e.g. popular girls in high school being rich and fashionable) and these become ingrained in our minds because we are seeing them everywhere. Thus, images on the television and in movies causes people to form certain ideas, notions, attitudes, and stereotypes towards the people and events around them by presenting what its controllers want us to see and what might not necessarily be the truth.
One of the things that the television and movies cause us to do is to formulate stereotypes for people around us who are from various different social and cultural backgrounds. Television and films provide materials out of which we form our very identities. These have created our sense of what our selves mean to ourselves; how we feel about being a male or a female; which class, ethnicity and race, of nationality we belong to, and of our sexuality; and of “us” and “them.” Perhaps the most important misconception that one can derive from the media is that of the other cultures, and thus makes us form some misinterpreted and false assumptions about people who are from a different culture. It is by observing the media that we learn how to behave, and how to think, what to feel, believe and fear of people from other cultures. For example, most of the action movies depict a woman who is in trouble and a man comes to save her. This is a typical stereotyping of the gender, where the woman is depicted as the weaker sex who always needs help from a man to save her life.
We learn how to react to members of different social groups by learning from the media and its artifacts. For example, many television shows and movies have popularized on many occasions that African Americans are always good at sports. This is why whenever we see people playing, say, basketball, we automatically assume that the black athlete would be better than the white one. Similarly, many television shows, for example Speedy Gonzales, has portrayed the Mexicans to be a lazy. This has affected our perception of the Mexicans and we tend to think that all Mexicans are in fact lazy. Thus, it becomes very important how a certain group of people is portrayed in television and in the movies. This becomes their identity in the eyes of the society.
This is not to say that television shows and movies cannot be used for good. Many television shows and movie out there work for the sole purpose of providing and spreading information. These include channels like the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic, or documentary films about the various issues and events in our lives. This is the positive side of media, where it is being used responsibly and in a very focused and factual manner. Television is best viewed when it is giving news, not views. All the information that are contained in knowledge-based television and movies are mostly fact-based. This means that the public is given facts that they have the option to evaluate for themselves. This is very much unlike popular media that works to instill opinions and views into our heads.
Thus, another thing that television and movies do is that they instill many different ideas into us as they shape our attitudes and opinions towards various events or issues at hand. News on the television, if not relayed responsibly, can cause many problems. Take, for example, the Rodney King Trial. In the early 1990s, a few police officers were filmed beating up Rodney King and this filmed was released all over the media. This caused a lot of problems in the United States as riots erupted in many parts of the country. This is where the responsibility of television broadcasting kicks in. Some images can cause a lot of problems if they are not discreet.
We know that television and movies can have various effects on us, our lives, and our society. We must understand that much of what we see on television or in the movies are there in order for us to change our minds about certain views or opinions. What is this but social control? In the current era of globalization, we must all be aware of the different factor that go into the production of television and movies and their implications on the different cultures and sections of the society. The media culture of today does tend to support many capitalist values, by undermining the minority interests, and shows a strong effort that exists between different races, classes, gender, and social groups. We must fully understand and comprehend the nature and effects of the production techniques of the media artifacts and its effects on the certain group of people. We must look deeper into the lines and understand the media culture as to its working, and how it works to change our attitudes, preferences, and views, leading to a social control at the hand of the media.