The Effects of Mass Media
History and Theory of New Media


How much we are realizing about the effects of mass media today? I do not think that we are realizing much, I mean we know some points but we are just ignore that because it has already been part of our life. You can often see a world where media can control and alter human life.

I would like to propose several ways to approach about mass media today using by the case of the commercialization, animations, and media cultures. Animations, television, and computers are facts of life for today's people, especially children. "The effect of TV, as the most recent and spectacular electric ex! tension of our central nervous system, is hard to grasp for various reasons. Since it has affected the totality of our lives, personal and social and political¡ (McLuhan, 317). One reason children are so vulnerable to the messages of television is that they take what they see on television to be reality. Very young children equate all of television with reality.

The first approach about the media cultures today, I will show a case that the young child has been influenced by the mass media which they took advantage of him. Naturally, as children get older they adopt new definitions of television reality; however, I was so surprised that how much the mass media can change their viewpoint in such an early age. The MBC Korean broadcasting television decided to start a program that a famous pop group (called Groove Over Dose- G.O.D.) of five male singers will babysat a nine-month-old baby until the baby (name Jaemin Han) become two years old. The parents of the baby are both working, so the G.O.D. will babysat the baby three days a week. The TV episode (called "The Babydiary") was start on March 5, 2000 and the program shows on every week to show a whole week's diary. They live in a boarding house, so the baby can live with them three days per week. The each group member shares five different parts, which are the father, mother, cook, recreation and fashion coordinator. The group member's ages are from 18 to 27 years old. The oldest member is a father and his role is to take the responsibility for everything. The mother's role is put the baby to sleep and have to take care the baby even though he awakes ! from sleep in the middle of the night. The cook has to figure out how to make the baby food, how many times he has to feed the milk a day and how warm the milk should be, etc. The recreation person's role should entertain him especially when he starts to cry and grumble. At the last but not the least the fashion coordinator's role is not only make him look pretty but also practical. Everything is so new to them too, so it has been took a while to adjust each person's role for couple months.

There are several important things to point out from these whole baby diary issues. First, this group was not so popular until they start doing this babysitting; also they had a limited audience which is a young age group. However, after they start doing this program, their fan age group is getting broader to older age. "The G.O.D. = The group who raise a baby Jaemin- They be come popular to female age 20s and 30s.¡(Sports Chosun Nov 17, 2000) Why? I think the answer for that is really simple because the program stimulates the audience's sensibility, which is their maternity. Nowadays, people do not stimulate to some degree because they are already familiar for exposing too much from all kinds of media. However, if people stimulate from the most basic sensibility, they will stimulate and respond by that. "G.O.D.- The rainbow connection between the parent generation and children generation (Sports Seoul No! v 21, 2000).¡ The article is about the point of excellence for this episode, which brakes the extinction of wall between the parent generation and children generation. Nowadays, the wall between those two generations were built with poverty and rich, spirit and material, letter and cell phone, radio and TV, etc. Both live in same period and space, at the same time they carry on different styles and visual angles of their life. However, the dance group G.O.D. connects a bridge between these two generation. These two generation watch their episode and talk about it together, also they listen their music together too. Therefore, the Jaemin become their mediator who connects the analog and digital generation.

The effects of mass media has pros and cons, this is the only good point of this whole Babydiary issue. As a result of the MBC's good marketing plan, they became the most popular group in Korea right now. Second, these media have effected the baby so quickly. For instance, the baby already has judge skills for the beauty values. What I mean by that is, he keeps avoiding the bad looking guy of the members. That means he already exposed from media so his value of the beauty is same as the media represent. The mass media has an influence, which is unavoidable, so the beauty standard of his viewpoint is really same as the media represents such as the movies, televisions, advertising and commercials are m! ostly using a super model to represents product. The media divided a certain people to certain level such as nice and ugly looking of man and woman. The television does influence children's view of social reality. One effect it can have is to encourage stereotyped opinions about social topics such as beauty value. Television generally presents highly stereotyped commercials are outstanding culprits in the presentation of beauty stereotypes. This seems to be the effect of television being a visual medium, even without any effect to see physical beauty.

The media give the value system what's good and bad, what's pretty and ugly, the media itself influenced that much in non only that young age children but also grown up. Therefore, how we visually show to people is really important role as a media designer. Another example of the baby is that only an 18 months old baby operates an audio all by himself. Also, he picks and choose the song he wants to listen. I could not believe that because I have never thought it is possible to that young age also, when I was young, I have not had that kind of experiences before. The scariest thing is that the baby always listens their (G.O.D) songs, so he did not have chances to listen a children's song. Even though they tried to play the children's song, but the baby was just stand there without any moves what so ever. However, he starts to! dance when he hears their music, which is Hip-hop and R&B (Rhythm and Blues). In other words, other ordinary kids who listen children's song regularly, they will not have a same feeling like the Jamin does. That means, he already has had effects by their music. Another example is that Jaemin knows exactly how he has to show in the camera. He exposed by camera 24 hours per three days a week, so he is already been familiar with it. Therefore, after he doing something that he thinks its funny or bad things to do, he stares the camera. How much the person is being exposed by media hinge on the person's life.


"G.O.D. The Babydiary Jaemin Han had received appreciation award from MBC" (Dong-A, Nov 25, 2000). The reason for that award is that this program was the first ranking TV episode since they start it. He was the youngest winner for that award; however, the parents were refused to get that awards also there were so many commercial proposals too. They just did not want to make the baby special because of the TV program (the media). Also, they did not want to fall into the materialism from all the money temptation when he starts to doing the commercials. I think the decision, which the parents made, was the right way for Jamin's future. As a Korean proverb says, the habit from three years old goes to 6o years old which means the habit and memories from young age will effects their rest of life. Therefore, a process of the person's growth will be under the control of their education. Children tend to learn what they see on television more thoroughly than what they read or hear on radio. This power means that the responsibility of television producers is much greater, the need for quality more pressing than with the older media.

The second approach about the commercialization today, I will explain using the case of animations (especially Japanese animations). The animation is a worldwide these days and has a huge impact on animation industry, not only they make animations but also they make animation movies, video games, cards, and toys, etc. For instance, the Pokemon animation made movies, video games, toys, and cards. That means everyone see the same movie, play the same game, talk about same thing worldwide. I heard that one child got killed by his friend during they had fight for the Pokemon cards. Why I felt terrible when I heard that news because of the piece of card; one child got killed from his friend. Whose fault is it? What if the media did not expose that much of the Pokemon issues to innocent young children? I read one article from newspaper a year ago, the article was about Japanese exports their animation movies to other country especially United States with really cheap price. The Japanese's strateg! ic for the cosmopolitanism is doing cultural export by cheap animation movies. Think about it, on Saturday morning, almost every child sits front of television with milk and chocolate cookies watching the Japanese cartoons, so they get used to Japanese animation and culture. Nowadays 50-60% is the Japanese cartoon in major television network, which is really scary part. They watch these Japanese cartoons through their childhood, which leads not to have any negative feelings for other country's cultures. The Japanese people's intention was to aim that. Of course there are other things that the American children do not want to watch the American cartoons anymore. One reason is that they are tired of watching the super hero series or Tom and Jerry's which is rewarding the good and punishing the evil over and over again. It has been changed from that approach of cartoon to the viewer is in charge of the character which is the way of the Pokemon trained other creatures. The opposition between the styles of American cartoons and Japanese cartoon defined the interactions between viewer and characters. I think that the animator should figure it out how to meet the needs of the times instead of import other country's animation (cultures) without filtration. They have to think about it more carefully for the future generations.

Thirty-six years ago Marshall McLuhan advanced the revoluti! onary thesis that "the medium is the message". His idea was that each medium of communication produces social and psychological effects on its audience, particular social relations and particular form of consciousness or way of thinking, that are quite independent of the content being transmitted. These effects constitute the message of the medium. McLuhan's famous phrase is widely quoted even if not widely understood. However, his phrase is the most important theory in media history. "The only way we are ever going to take control of the technology and make them serve the desire of a broad mass of people for a better life is if we can really start to get at the questions. What's it for? What kind of life we want to have? (Lunenfeld, 206-7)." "My opinion is that the damaging effects the electronic media can have on children are not intrinsic to the media but grow out the ways the media are used much of the content of commercial TV shows may have a negative effect on children's social attitudes. Commercials themselves use sophisticated techniques to manipulate viewers into wanting certain products, and young children have no defense against such techniques (Greenfield, 2-3).¡ Television watching can become a passive, deadening activity if adults do not guide their children's viewing and each children to watch critically and to learn from what they watch.

In conclusion, the media can be used to promote social growth and thinking skills. Television and the newer electronic media, is used wisely, have great positive potential for learning and development. If they give children visually different mental skills from those developed by reading and writing. Television is a better medium than the printed word for conveying certain types of information, and it makes learning available to group of children who do not do well in traditional school situations and even to people who cannot read. At this point, how the designer should function in this digital era? There are many ways to designer can achieve for their goal which are just function as a information delivery, pursuit aesthetics, money, or another ways? I will say based on my opinion, yes there is something else than, money, aesthetic, and information, which are creativity keep pace with the rapid digital era. Past century hold dominion over the rational, this century that we called the era of chaos. The graphic design in the past with all the visual, we called visual design. However, nowadays it has been changed since we have to deal with lots of media whom we have to communicate, we called interactive design. Therefore, the information from we have seen and hear only using your eye, but we have to indicate the information using by your ear,! so we need to interchange between educator, writer, designer, engineer, sociologist, and physiologist. We have to expand our senses with the voice in the screen. Therefore, the design is focused on human itself other than lots of unnecessary things for the society. The winner for that era will be the person who has flexible thinking power. Also, the designer must have a their true character. Follow the path of virtue with right-minded should be their goal. In addition to, the designer should have to find their life's passion, develop themselves-esteem, and create self- appreciation which lead to more positive self-esteem. With all that in mind the designer have a powerful persuasion.

Work Cited
Greenfield, Patricia Marks. Mind and Media. Massachusetts: Harvard University, 1984.
Lunenfeld, Peter. The Digital Dialectic. Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1999.
McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media. London: The MIT Press, 1999.
Babydiary: MBC Korean serial TV episode From Jan 2000 to present.

Newspaper: Dong-A Nov 25, 2000.
Sports Seoul Nov 21, 2000.
Sports Chosun Nov 17, 2000.