When you find yourself watching a reality show, you are in most cases getting occupied by trivial content. In that case, you are committing an escape from yourself. Why would reality show program serve as a substituting agent for your reality and not as an assistant of it?
To be clear, high quality media program does not have to be educational in its character, but it has to bear a connection with reality. Big Brother reality show lacks this connection, as people are being filmed in experimental conditions, like white mice in a lab.
Thus, viewing Big Brother does not make you stupid by itself, but it drags you away from yourself. Unconscious decision to commit an escape from yourself, by using reality unrelated media, may cause loss of connection to your emotional reality. In other words, it may make you a media zombie.
On the big scale, humans are blinded by different media like brands, social networks and TV, that they are losing grasp of themselves. It would have been different if those media were reality based. But they are more and more entertainment and ads rich, while less useful to their users.
For an example, when browsing daily paper, you can often see information about events happening tens of thousands kilometers away from you, but it is very hard to find local news relating to you. Also, negative news are plentiful in daily papers, making people stay at home, because of unrealistic fears.
Although more people are becoming aware of negative media effects to themselves and their families, it is hard to resist media use. Mass media affect our societies worse than alcohol or drugs. If you take a glass of vine, it can relax you, thus having a positive effect. Instead, if you drink lots of alcohol every night, this can be destructive to your health.
The same happens with TV, books and Internet use. Just that before, you did not have so many opportunities to dive into the “world of escape”, like now. With a mobile phone in your hand and Internet access, you can escape daily problems whenever you feel unable to handle its burdens. And this happens all too often.
Except being seductive in their nature, media are very deceptive, because in case of Facebook use, it seems you are communicating with other people, not seeking an escape from harshness of daily life. Similarly, when you drink alcohol, it appears you can warm yourself. But this is just a Fata Morgana.
In essence of modern “emotional substitution” lies human inability to handle pressure of increasing number of changing media. Media are becoming more deceptive, seductive and unrealistic at the same time. Above that, instead of giving you frames of reference, modern media bomb you with intensive content, which “kills imagination”. At the bottom line, why do you have to think and more importantly feel, if everything is served to you on the plate?
Media give us more detailed solutions and firm schemes of conduct, than ever before, thus destroying potential for imagination, which is at core of positive media effects. TV programs give us sights and sounds, making us lazy and thus less creative, while books can inspire us, with words only, by leaving us to imagine pictures in our minds.
Effects of Rock and Roll music in enslaving human kind is evident, when you scratch below its liberating surface. It may appear that young people, listening to this kind of music, express themselves by dancing. On the other hand, when you think of what appears a play, for young animals is preparation for their life, you understand that countless hours spent in night clubs in fact disable young people from expression, or touch with themselves, which would stimulate them to take active roles in their lives.
Also, media stream their audiences towards perfection, by depicting unrealistic female beauty as a goal for their users, not as a reflection of reality. By focusing on representation of materialistic values, media became media-centered, thus negating emotional reality, which they ought to represent.
Lacking emotional representation is a blink into unbalanced world of contemporary media content. Insane standards of objectivity set by journalist’s code of ethics are repressing their emotional expression and creativity in mass media, making our mediators of reality become robotized, which is at the bottom line transferred to zombify their audiences.
Another sign of unrealistic media content is ever-present lifeless statistics, which rather confuses audiences, than it makes any sense to them. Trivial figures are a good sign for materialistic approach to life in our media.
Big media programs fail to convey daily issues of our communities. Paths of media indulgence are usually not individualized as much as it is possible, especially when it comes to education. There are lots of universal concepts defined to the smallest details in all aspects of life, thus repressing individuality. The best illustration for this, include declining number of local media as a counterweight to the advance of international conglomerates. These tendencies make it hard for everyone to read “their personal set of books”, as there are no universal pathways of knowledge.
Media effects could be checked with children, in terms of unrealistic content. Today’s children start intensive media use from an early age. They usually watch unrealistic cartoons on TV, play PC games and access Internet on their cell phones. Children are applying unrealistic concepts from today’s cartoon to their lives, note pre-school teachers. Why is that? You can reach the answer by simply comparing contemporary and “old school” cartoon characters. You would see that Pokemon and SpongeBob ousted more realistic characters, including Cinderella and Donald the Duck.
Except Internet, TV, newspapers, mobile phones, radio, music, books, films and theatre plays, in my view, media include institutions like state, religions and corporations, but also other marks of cultural heritage such as architecture, medicine, science, education history and morals, as they tend to convey messages of human spiritual reality. I will describe lacking connection between reality and media both in philosophical book Cultural Organism: Mass Symbols and Freedom and in my doctoral thesis. Thus, I am inviting you to participate in Media Use Survey (also available in French, Korean, Greek and Serbian), helping me to scientifically confirm these ideas.