The Media and Self Esteem

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The media is everywhere, it involves any form of mass communication that reaches people widely. In today's world most of us will grow up in a world where the media is unavoidable. Our parents and other previous generations were not exposed to this sort of influences, and therefore were not susceptible to the impact the mass media may have on individuals. In recent years, speculations to as of what those impacts might be are underway. One of the most asked questions: is the media killing your self esteem?

One interesting fact is that women spend a lot more time using the internet (and other means of social media) than men do. It is already more common for women to have issues with negative body image than it is for men, and could this internet usage be pushing that even further? There seems to be some impact because the media somehow forces us to change our perception of ourselves. We are constantly comparing ourselves to an ideal that probably isn't very realistic. (Henderson)

Another way that our self esteem can be affected is through social media sites. Facebook is now the most used of all these sites, with 750 million views worldwide. Some professionals believe this could actually be a self-esteem boost, due to the positive image you can create of yourself on these websites. Other studies have found that people with lower self esteem tend to spend more time on these types of sites than people who are more confident. This can have a negative affect on their self image because sites like Facebook only showcase certain aspects of other people's lives, and it tends to be the positive aspects. Once again, this creates an unrealistic comparison. (Williams)

The case of the media impact on self esteem seems to be a toss up. Although it has been widely assumed that the media plays a negative role in affecting self esteem, some professionals are beginning to believe the opposite. As with all things in life, I believe that it depends. For some people it may increase self esteem, but for others it may decrease it. Everyone is different and people just need to learn to live the life that is most suitable for them.


References:


Henderson, Maureen. "Is facebook good or bad for your self esteem?." Forbes [Is social media destroying your self esteem?] 12 March 2012, n. pag. Print. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/jmaureenhenderson/2012/07/11/is-social-media-destroying-your-self-esteem/2/>.

Williams, Ray. "Is facebook good or bad for your self esteem?." Psychology Today 12 March 2012, n. pag. Print. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201203/is-facebook-good-or-bad-your-self-esteem>.


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Examining the effects of media is important because it is becoming one of the main methods for socialization for adolescence. Media also allows the presentation of certain aspects that may be rewarded or praised by the community. Praise from these behaviors may boost their self-esteem. On the flip side, media can damage self concept and lower self-esteem in its portrayal of the ideal body. Media has been implicated in the development of eating disorders and use of anabolic steroids (Labre, 2002). Media portrays what would be considered the ideal body that attracts the opposite sex, resulting in maladaptive behavior participation. In addition, the media also provides sources that can support the behavior being displayed. Media allows for affirmation from peers that contribute to identity development while damaging and boosting self-esteem in the process.

References

Labre, M. P. (2002). Adolescent boys and the muscular male body ideal. Journal of Adolescent Health, 30(4), 233-242. Retrieved from http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(01)00413-X/abstract

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