Media; friend or foe?

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In today’s group we wanted to look at parts of the media which people found helpful along side the parts which people found to be emotionally damaging. Of course there are many forms of media we gain access from; newspapers, news bulletins, TV/radio shows which brings us up to the latest form of media which is widely used ; social media. Below are the examples given for friend or foe;

Friend of media; Facebook allows people to have fun and catch up with old friends or family who may live in different locations around the world. Twitter allows people to follow other people of interest and find out what is going on in their lives. Through online streaming services like Spotify and Apple music we are able to support and share emerging artists. Most websites now provide access to helpful forums which allow people to chat and leave comments on certain topics. Having these forms of media can help people feel less alone with a question or issue. Media can provide a great vehicle to raise awareness for things like mental health and suicide prevention.

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Foe; Targeted advertising after visiting a website can feel intrusive. The dis-inhibition online effect where people can become ‘Keyboard warriors’ and be abusive to others. Conspiracy theories and fake news promoted at large can provoke feelings of fear in people. Using electronic devices all the time can make it hard to maintain contact with people who are physically beside you. People can find that positive affirmations they receive on social media can become addictive and feel disappointed if subsequent posts do not reach the same level of ‘likes’. The way photos are posted using certain art effects or Photoshop tools can give a false presentation of someone who feels that they have to strive for perfectionism. Some media is set up to fit a certain narrative which does not allow people to have any dialogue or discussion. Echo chambers with a hatred for different opinions can grow which can lead to examples of ‘trolling’ and other dehumanising behaviour.

In conclusion It is important to remember as human beings we very much rely on connection with others for a healthy well-being, but as the above examples show we need to do so in a way which feels safe.

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