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Understanding The Media Throughout My Life

Jaclyn Holinka

When I began to ponder the way in which to write this life history paper, I encountered many difficulties. The media has had, and continues to have, a great impact on my life. I wanted to bring to this paper an analysis of the intricate aspects of media which have affected my life. I will begin with the discussion of television, which is the main influential medium as a child and early adult. I will conclude with an overview opinion of the internet and its transformation on my life. Other forms of media, such as radio, magazines, and newspapers, have also affected my life, however not in such a large scale.

As a child, television was a medium which provided a sense of attachment between members of my family and myself. I would watch several shows and relate them to my own personal life and being in order to determine my so-called character in life. My parents were very strict growing up, and I learned right from wrong early on. I would watch many shows were characters would do the wrong thing in certain circumstances, which would then revolve into myself observing the consequences my parents had stressed and taught. Some people argue that television is corrupt for children. However, I believe if a child has a resourceful realm of information to distinguish between the bad and good, then television can be a beneficial tool for children.

As a child, my family also had positive outcomes from television. My parents had an unhealthy relationship, which led me to be encouraged about watching a good television show to bring the family together. My parents would argue all the time, however sit all of us in front of the television and the atmosphere would automatically change. I remember as a child, my mother and father laughing and getting along while the television was on, which was rare for my parents. I am not saying television is the cure for all familial problems, however it did ease the tension within my house. When my family and I sat in front of the television, my father would always tell stories that correlated with his own life based on the television show. I always found them interesting and humorous because my father is a very funny man. My brother and I would laugh for hours while he told numerous stories.

The effect that television has had on myself is the most important. As I grew older, I found myself appreciating what television did for me. It opened myself up to many controversial issues. I would watch several controversial shows and listen to numerous amounts of opinions and in the end, I would have formed my own opinion based on the correlation of all the information. I do not believe that television told me what to think, I do believe it was providing information for me to foster my own opinion. I find myself doing this thought process today as well. For example, with the recent election, I was completely confused as to what was really going on between the two candidates. I would watch the news, legal shows, talk shows, interviews, etc., to open myself to the wide spectrum of ideas. Regardless if broadcasters were speaking the truth, it allowed me to make counter opinions and learn how the system works. I found the media to be very beneficial in that crisis. A great number of people believe that the media tell society what to think. I believe that if you let the media tell you what to think, then you fall victim to the widespread negative view on media. People have to tell themselves what they think and then let the media provide a gateway to other opinions. Some shows on television are real life reality presentation and can be watched with an observing and learning eye. However, not all shows are reality and need to be viewed for entertainment or self-fulfilling purposes.

For example, I believe that some television shows are very stereotypical of certain races and genders. Some people are greatly offended by the negative stereotypes presented on the television. I do not believe that simply because I watch a certain show with stereotypical representation that I am subject to those beliefs. The television should be viewed as a middleman between reality and fiction holding center to individual ideas. People should be critical users and viewers of the media in order for the media to serve its intended purpose.
The internet has also served as a recent influential medium in my life. I began using the internet regularly about three and a half years ago. I was somewhat skeptical of the internet due to my lack of knowledge. I slowly became accustomed to the perks of being a frequent internet user and currently spend approximately two hours a day on line. The internet has served as a great educational tool within my progress of obtaining my degree. I currently have classes which are internet based and make the tedious homework hassles a great deal easier. I can do assignments and exams while sitting in my room and communicate with fellow students simultaneously. I find this an incredibly valuable tool.

The internet also strikes a great deal of amazement from myself. I am astonished with the amount of knowledge and resources available on the internet. Any uncertainties I have, I simply click a search engine and immediately receive numerous results to better understand confusing subjects. Similar to television, users of the internet should use the internet with a critical perspective. Not simply believing every word, but allowing what is written to direct you to the truth. I can make appointments on line, shop, learn, communicate, and link myself to anything I desire.

The internet has helped me to go that extra mile in school. I find myself looking up much more information on the internet, communicating with professors more, and paying more attention to minute details in each course. The internet is so easy to use and such a helpful tool that it is hard to ignore as such an influential medium.
Both television and the internet have affected my life in many ways. Together they have encouraged myself to major in communications and eventually obtain a job within the television industry. The more I engage myself in the media, the more interested I become. I find both the internet and television as educational, entertaining, and a source of encouragement for my future. The media has a strong influence (both positive and negative) on many people, which is something I believe deserves recognition.

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