Shaping our lives

En stil om hvordan media påvirker vår handlinger og verdier.
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Every single day we are overwhelmed by a heap of news reports, films, TV series, commercials and advertisements, many of which are in English. They are all filled with values and opinions which they are trying to pass on to us; either directly, by telling us straight out what to mean or think, or indirectly, though illustrations, such as for example films and TV series, trying to tell us what decisions to make to get it right. This influence can both be positive and negative, and influence all branches of the population, though to a varying degree. Young people is often more easily influence and manipulated to make certain decisions than older people, because that have less experience and knowledge. A lack of opportunity and time to have made mistakes and gained experience, make a lot of young people more native. In addition, the need for young people to belong and fit in, affect their ability to make the right decisions when influenced by for example commercials.


The development of new technology like internet and television, and the mass distribution of magazines and newspaper, have increasingly made news more accessible for the everyone. As the technology has developed, it has made it possible to get the latest news only a few seconds after an incident has occurred, and we can keep up with everything that happens over the whole planet; not only on our own continent, or in our own country or city. The internet has also made it possible for us to gain access to news reports from just about every country in the world, and though language barriers set some restrictions, it is no dough an extremely valuable source of knowledge, and contribute to tie the world closer together.


Most of the international news we in for example Europe receive is mainly in English, because for most of us that is our lingua franca. However, it is important to keep in mind that even a news report contains a set values and beliefs which is constructed by the news agencies or even the country, from which the news cast is sent. Different news reports usually contain certain opinions about the case, and often wish to influence us to take on the same opinion. It can for example be hidden propaganda towards a country or organization, an environmental organization trying to influence us to support their cause, or a political party trying to win our vote; thus the subject and the following set of values and opinions vary accordingly with the ones standing behind the news.


However, it is not only through news reports we are influence. Also through TV series and films we are constantly faced with different values and behaviours. People often copy the behaviours they see in films and TV series, and this shape them as human beings. To take an example; though different TV series we follow a group a characters though their everyday lives, and without being aware of it we often adopt the opinions and values of our favourite characters, and make them our own. If our favourite character for example has an excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs, a certain opinion on abortion or a judgemental opinion on foreign people, we often tend to think of this opinions as right and adopt them to become just as cool as that character. Also the focus on looks and fashion is often huge, and we end up wanting to look like role models.


Though reality shows such as Big Brother and Paradise Hotel we get a misconception on what is truly important. We get so caught up in who has slept with who and spend all our time speculating on who is going to make the most strategic move to secure his or her spot for one more week. Talent, wit, wisdom and education becomes less important as long as the contestants are young, good-looking and well-dressed. This exaggerated focus on looks and cloth contributed to an unhealthy prospection on what is beautiful, and makes a huge amount of people feel insecure about themselves.


Not only reality shows contribute to this massive focus on looks and fashion. Though commercials and advertisements we are influence to buy certain products and services to improve the way we look. According to the commercials for beauty products it is not possible to look beautiful unless you use a certain kind of lotion, hair removal cream, hair products, and make-up. The beauty product industry constantly produce new products; the next better than the previous. Through constant advertising we are without being aware of it influenced to choose products we have seen on television or in advertisements in magazines. Mind you, it is not only beauty products we are influenced to buy. Through among other things commercials, advertisements and articles in magazines and newspapers, our values are affected and often changed, and our choices are made based on the influence we have received.


Even though influence from media as a general can be both an important and helpful tool to make up our own conception and to get different point of views across, it is crucial to be able to be critical towards the influence we are faced with and to be able to make up our own opinions and find our own values, not based merely on other`s opinions and values.

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