How the mass media affects people

What influence does the mass media have on the socialization of young people in the 21st century?

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 socialization
2.1 Socialization in the 21st Century

3 Youth as a phase of life

4 (mass) media and means of mass communication
4.1 Characteristics and functions of media
4.2 Mass media and society - media society?
4.3 Media literacy

5 Socialization through mass media - opportunities and risks
5.1 Risks
5.1.1 Media violence
5.1.2 Media reality and worldview
5.2 Constructive effects and opportunities

6 Outlook

7 Bibliography

1 Introduction

Nowadays media are almost omnipresent in our (everyday) life and can hardly be avoided. At the beginning of the 21st century, children and young people grow up in an environment shaped by electronic media; the use of numerous mass media has long been part of everyday life. It is undisputed that mass media have a significant influence on life and the way we live. It is precisely through the establishment of the Internet as an information and communication medium that young people are strongly influenced in the course of their socialization. The rapid progress of globalization and modernization is causing, among other things, a mixture of media and social aspects, which is why more and more scientists and journalists have recently been speaking of a "media society" in relation to society in the 21st century; the youth are even considered to be the “network generation” or “Generation @”.

The aim of this work is to analyze whether and why one can actually speak of mediatized or media-mediated socialization today and what influence the (mass) media can exert on the socialization process of young people in the 21st century. The risks and opportunities that arise for young people when they “consume” mass media offers are to be compared.

2 socialization

The social and health scientist Klaus Hurrelmann has developed a definition of the term that includes both a person- and subject-centered point of view as well as an interaction- and society-centered point of view:

"Socialization is a process through which, in mutual interdependence between the biopsychic basic structure of individual actors and their social and physical environment, relatively permanent dispositions of perception, evaluation and action arise on a personal as well as on a collective level."

(Hurrelmann et al. 2008: 25)

Socialization can therefore be understood as a mechanism of action of personality genesis as well as the structural genesis of social behavior. (See Hurrelmann et al. 2008: 25)

The more recent research on socialization in particular emphasizes that socialization cannot be understood simply as the mere shaping of the individual by society: Individuals do not simply passively adopt social guidelines; rather, they actively acquire them. (See Scherr in Korte; Schäfers 2007: 46)

Socialization processes are learning and development processes of the individual in a social environment. In the course of the socialization process, our entire “personality” develops with all of its characteristics, individual characteristics as well as its motive and consciousness structures. (Cf. Geulen in Joas 2007: 138) It should be emphasized in this context that the socialization process of a person cannot be planned, but only results from the sum of his (individually experienced) social learning processes in different contexts. (Compare Geulen in Joas 2007: 142)

2.1 Socialization in the 21st Century

In order to be able to consider or speculate about the socialization influences on young people of the 21st century, it seems essential to first determine what developments this century is characterized by:

There seems to be a tendency that traditional social values ​​and norms are steadily losing their persuasive power, and their basis of legitimation no longer seems to be stable. (Cf. Zimmermann 2006: 212) "In the beginning of the 21st century, children and young people are largely released from traditional guidelines and pre-interpretations of life, selfness is the order of the day." and short-lived; Adolescents and young professionals are increasingly required to be mobile and flexible. Furthermore, society seems to demand an ever greater degree of spontaneity and willingness to take risks from its members, and self-employment is also increasingly becoming a key competence. In summary, it can therefore be said that the societies in the 21st century (at least in the European context) show clear tendencies towards individualization, experience and pluralization.

As the socialization guidelines are becoming more and more open, the scope for decision-making of young people with regard to the development of their “personal identity” is also being expanded. However, this often leads to the fact that adolescents often have difficulties in finding out which (life) path is "the right" one due to the extensive decision-making options and the expanded personal freedom. (Compare Zimmermann 2006: 212 f.)

3 Youth as a phase of life

Hillmann defines youth as a "relatively independent phase of life with granted scope for self-realization." (Hillmann 2007: 405)

According to the German-American psychoanalyst E. H. Erikson, the “youth phase of life” begins with the onset of puberty; The physical changes and maturation processes go hand in hand with a fundamental questioning of child familiarities that were previously taken for granted. At the same time there is a real “reorganization” of the ego, social relationships are also “reorganized” and values ​​and interests are also re-formed. (Cf. Hillmann 2007: 405) The youth phase is therefore characterized by the fact that in this phase of life not only essential physical, but also psychological, emotional, spiritual and social developments take place. (Cf. Zimmermann 2006: 154) In all statements regarding youth, it must always be noted that 'the' young people are by no means a homogeneous social group; on the contrary, the young are as differentiated as society itself, they even adds significantly to their complexity. (See Hillmann 2007: 405 f.)

4 (mass) media and means of mass communication

According to Geulen, those forms of communication that connect large crowds are called mass media: language per se, radio, television, daily newspapers, but also cinema, CD productions, books, magazines and the Internet; all of them are considered to be important socialization bodies. (Cf. Geulen in Joas 2007: 153) Hillman defines mass media as "techniques for the distribution and reproduction of written, pictorial [...] or verbal, musical [...] statements [...] for a large heterogeneous, not precisely determinable target group. ”(Hillmann 2007: 539) Mass media are media of distribution for which the number of actual recipients is a priori unknown.

4.1 Characteristics and functions of media

Media in general have a fundamental function: the unification of individual members of a community or society. (Cf. Anderson 1998 in Friedrich 2008: 14) Especially in large, functionally differentiated societies, the massive use of established media helps to establish a common horizon of understanding. The media therefore play an important role in the development of cultural orientation, worldviews and attitudes and promote the global dissemination of values. (Cf. Wehner 1997: 96 ff. In Friedrich 2008: 14) The media scientist Becker comments on the character and function of mass media as follows:

“Especially in their form of public law institutions, which has already become historical, they [...] contributed to a large extent to the staging of social unity. For a long time, radio, press and television were largely responsible for the development of an intersubjectively viable model of reality within a society, despite all the diversification, because, based on centrally made selections of information, they made it possible for the members of a society to work together, regardless of the diversity of their respective milieus could refer to the sustained design of reality. "

(Becker 1998: 2 in Friedrich 2008: 14f)

In the 21st century, mass media make a significant contribution to the constitution of culture and social reality. In doing so, they not only function as a "store" of all social knowledge, but also as a forum for social exchange. (Cf. Lukesch 2008 in Hurrelmann et al. 2008: 390 f.) Mass media serve as a mediator of “information, practical help in life, entertainment, relaxation and diversion” (through leisure time consumption) and their content is more specific to individual interests and needs Target groups designed. They serve as an authority that expresses criticism, exercises control and also contributes to the self-image of society; in which they lead a discourse about facts, events and problems that concern society as a whole. (Cf. Hillmann 2007: 539) If one looks at the mass medium of television as an example, according to McQuail it succeeds in connecting the private sphere with the public. This is because the programs are aimed at the general public and thus become a significant part of collective experience. (Cf. McQuail 1997: 90 in Plake 2004: 201 f.)

4.2 Mass media and society - media society?

In order to be able to analyze media socialization in more detail, it is essential to consult the historical social context for the analysis. This shows that society, media and the individual in the 21st century are interrelated and thus influence one another.

Media and mass media in particular therefore have an immanent influence on knowledge, behavior and the formation of attitudes and judgments of people. (Cf. Ecarius et al. 2008 in Hurrelmann et al. 2008: 111) A critical examination quickly reveals that today's world of children, adolescents and adults is shaped or permeated by the mass media. The use or consumption of media does not always have to be conscious, but often takes place as a mere background activity. In this respect, a large part of media consumption is not at all the result of conscious decisions; rather, it arises incidentally from habit or from the situation.

Hillmann describes the relationship between mass media and society as follows:

“In this context, the term“ media society ”emphasizes in a special way that the appearance of modern societies is inextricably linked with the existence of mass media and communication.” (Hillmann 2007: 549) Since everyday media exposure is extremely dominant, the Contents disseminated via the media represent important environmental experiences (for young people) and can thus function as significant socialization factors. The relationship between people in the medial socialization process always appears to be of importance, does they act as an active subject or is they degraded to a mere object? (See Lukesch 2008 in Hurrelmann et al. 2008: 384 ff.)

According to the sociologist Sutter, there are complex interactions between media-widespread communication and reception processes: Due to the complexity, media offers can neither be reduced to mere content, nor can the recipients be assigned an exclusively passive role. Media act as constructors of our worldview, so they provide drafts of reality to which the entirety of the recipients always refer or with which they can (critically) deal. (Compare Sutter 2001: 7)

4.3 Media literacy

Young people of the 21st century grow up with mass media such as the Internet as a matter of course, intensive media use has a permanent place in their everyday life; For example, it plays a key role in the search for identity and opportunities for personal development. Social development is also increasingly influenced by the rapidly advancing developments in information and media technology.

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