Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Effects of Media and the Internet

Internet and Advertising

I found it particularly interesting that adolescents become more conforming, especially to their peer's antisocial values (Santrock, 2008). This has a definitive effect in concert with the influence of the media. When even half of an associated peer group becomes enamored with a trendy product, the rest of the group will quickly be made aware of its salience. As the media has become pervasive in the lives of children and adolescents, its influence and effects have become long-term and far-reaching (Santrock, 2008). Access and exposure to the media is excessive, and parents have far less control over their children's exposure, which has become "a new, massive, and complex virtual universe, even as they carry on their lives in the real world" (Greenfield & Yan, 2006, p. 391). Although for many children, the internet and media provide potential danger and a misuse of experience, for others, the bounty of valuable information in this virtual universe has potential, if not actual, benefit (Greenfield & Yan, 2006).

Social Networking

Barker (2006) used information from 2006, which, considering how drastically the demographics for online social networking in the last few years, I imagine their statistics are already outdated. Suffice it to say, many young children and most adolescents have unrestrained use of the internet. As far back as 2006, more than half of the adolescents who use the internet have an online presence, specifically on social networking sites (Barker, 2006). Not only has this online access changed the amount of easily accessible information, it has also introduced a new manner of communication wherein individuals are free to express thoughts and ideas without experiencing the ordinary repercussions of face-to-face interactions.

Social Networking and Identity

The internet and especially social networking sites have changed the formation of social identity, specifically how individuals may become part of a group that may or may not have face-to-face experiences or communication (Barker, 2006). Exposure to media has altered the general experience of children and adolescents, exposing them to sex (as well as safe sex) and sexuality, violence, the pros and cons of substance use and abuse, body image, and consumerism (Strasberger, 2010). The repercussions of these exposures is powerful and in many cases, life altering. The media and the internet provide potential for positive and negative experiences, but the most salient issues for children, and more pervasively, perhaps, for adolescents, "have all been transferred to and transformed by the electronic stage" (Subrahmanyam, & Greenfield, 2008, p. 139).

Media, the Internet, and Sitting Around on Expanding Hindquarters
Finally, the media and internet have altered the physical growth of children and adolescents to the point where more children than ever are morbidly obese, and many more are overweight (Yu, 2011). This may be because of a lack of exercise and physical activity and eating all the junk food they see advertised on television and online. In many households, fresh air and outdoor play has been replaced by electronic entertainment and healthy foods substituted with the best and brightly advertised product.


Barker, V. (2008). Older adolescents' motivations for use of social networking sites: The influence of group identity and collective self-esteem. Paper presented at The International Communication Association Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

Barnett, C. (2009). Towards a methodology of postmodern assemblage: Adolescent identity in the age of social networking. Philosophical Studies in Education 40, 200–210.

Greenfield, P., & Yan, Z. (2006). Children, Adolescents, and the Internet: A New Field of Inquiry in Developmental Psychology. Developmental Psychology, 42(3), 391-394. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.42.3.391

Strasberger, V. (2010). Children, adolescents, and the media: seven key issues. Pediatric Annals, 39(9), 556–564. doi: 10.3928/00904481-20100825-06

Subrahmanyam, K., & Greenfield, P. (2008). Online communication and adolescent relationships. Future of Children, 18(1), 119–146.

Yu, H. (2011). Parental communication style's impact on children's attitudes toward obesity and food advertising. JOURNAL OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS; SPR, 2011, 45 1, P87-p107,, 45(1), 87-107.

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