The mass media is a collective term for systems that transmit or disseminate information to so many people. These systems may also perform other functions; for example, they may serve as a means of making entertaining programs, commendable arts, and educative materials accessible to people. Information and communication in the world today is vital; it’s virtually impossible to know what is happening around the world and almost difficult to learn about other people’s culture without the existence of the mass media. The mass media also enhances communication between people, as in the case with social media. Trade and commerce have been facilitated, thus enhancing free trade, and education has been made more accessible through this wonderful technology.
The mass media, of course, has improved over time, advancing in technology. Its remarkable benefits cannot be overly emphasized. For example, people need to be informed about what is happening around the world; updated on information such as the events of a likely war, natural disasters, economic recession, criminal activities, international trade, the financial market, politics, and so on. And while information adds to knowledge, promotes economic activities, and improves the society, it also helps in keeping people aware of the potential dangers around them.
Advertisement through the mass media enables prospective customers to have a quicker and faster access to information about the products they want to acquire; information such as what the product does, and where it can be acquired can be mutually beneficial to consumers and advertisers. Employers of labour are also able to reach a large base of aspiring labourers across the country/world through the transmission of information via the mass-media. Furthermore, electronic books, videos, and audios are utilized by educational institutions and religious bodies to enlighten the masses. The existence of the computer and the INTERNET has made it possible for the Open University initiative to thrive.
Mass media may be classified into broadcast media, print media, and social media. The broadcast media, such as the television, radio, and the worldwide web are known to transmit information, while the social media enhances both the transmission of information and interpersonal communication between people. The print media is also quite effective as a transmitter of information- although it existed much earlier than the others, it is still very much in use today. And as information is power, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that mass media controllers are very powerful. The great influence of the media cannot be overemphasized, because of the colossal effect of words and imagery on the human mind.
The mass media has the power to control our perception about different subject matters. This can occur through the dissemination of facts or lies, or through the subtle approach of videos and audios to influencing our way of life. The movies we watch carry subliminal messages that may slip right into our minds unnoticed. Subconsciously, we begin to exhibit some of the character traits of our favorite movie stars, musicians, and so on. We begin to adhere to some of the perspectives, practices, and philosophies of the media materials.
The remarkable quality of the mass media is its ability to be omnipresent; its ability to reach a large population of people at the same time. This makes it a potentially effective tool for mass control. The information that are sometimes transmitted by these mass media are diluted, which thus raises questions about ethics. The effectiveness of the mass media as an authority in the discharge of veracious news is alas, questionable.
Advertisements through mass media can also give misleading information with the intent to cheat on the unknowing masses. Some advertisements on our television screens and radios are false advertising, while others are simply not appropriate for children; for example, the advertising of hot beverages (beer). Exposure of the children to inappropriate advertising can have a negative impact on their lives.
Lastly, while the internet can be a wonderful source of valuable information, and an opportunity to communicate with friends across the world, it can be a source of pornography, chastisement, false indoctrination, and cyber bullying. Information posted on the internet is without law or control. Your child may lock up himself in the room seeing whatever he wants on the internet or through his phone (such as joining some ridiculous cult) without your actually being aware.