The Media Effects Model

The Media Effects model, as outlined by David Gauntlett in his appropriately named article “Ten things wrong with the ‘effects model’”, is the idea that the media has a large effect on people’s behaviours and attitudes. However, I believe that this Media Effects Model is quite wrong, and contains many flaws which undermine its integrity. I find the major flaw to be that “the effects model tackles social problems ‘backwards’” (Gauntlett 1998). The media effects model tackles various social issues regarding the media the wrong way. Instead of beginning with the problem and explain it with reference to the media, it instead starts with the media and makes connections from that.  Another point is that individual cases are thrown into the spotlight and media outlets, such as violent video games and movies, are blamed. It is as if the media is a convenient outlet to place the blame on.

A major issue in today’s culture is the rise in childhood obesity. With numbers steadily rising the media is the first blamed. The Media Effects Model places blame on children’s televisions shows and advertisements which apparently make kids fat. I think there is much more to this though. It is a mix of clever marketing schemes and parents that can’t say no. The change of society into a more ‘technological age’ does have an effect on child behaviour though. We should instead look at how individuals approach the media, rather than how the media affects an individual. As stated by Gauntlett, “The narrowly individualistic approach of some psychologists leads them to argue that, because of their belief that particular individuals at certain times in specific circumstances may be negatively affected by one bit of media, the removal of such media from society would be a positive step”. I think this is the wrong approach to the media’s social ‘problems’. We must look at the big picture. Instead of blaming a single piece of media, a bigger picture of society should be taken into consideration when looking at media’s effects.

References:

Gauntlett D, 1998, Ten Things Wrong with the Media Effects Model

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