Social Media and its Impact Essay Example


Today people are divided and many have a stigmatism to their own prejudice, causing a roadblock to the improvement of social reform and justice for all. According to the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, children are born associating positive connotations with faces the same color as theirs and negative connotations with faces different colors as theirs. Children are not colorblind but that does not mean that all underlying racist thoughts were coded into our minds before we even had a choice. The media is armed with distorted perspectives on people and is ready to feed it to anyone who clicks the right ad, post, or channel. 

Before we delve into the ways social media can cast shadow’s on Anything that people spend most of their time absorbed in will have an impact on them consciously or subconsciously. People today are spending more time than ever looking at the media and in turn it controls them. Social media, the internet, networks are in people’s pockets, and they are ready for use constantly. In the documentary The Social Dilemma, Tristan Harris, a Google employee, and Tim Kendel, a Facebook employee, discuss how they became addicted to the media platforms that they had created. The purpose of the algorithms in the code behind the software is to get people to spend more time on their technology, so that the tech companies can make more money by showing people ads. The documentary puts it this way, “if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” Unlike people, artificial intelligence does not have a moral sense against fake news and it does not have a moral sense against addicting people to social media, in order to increase the time people spend on technology. The documentary explains that the way social media is set up is that it tracks the content and exact amount of time that a user spends on each item, then when anything similar is posted, the algorithms have already calculated who that content will trigger the largest response in, and it sends it to that selected group of people. In addition, the algorithms work simultaneously with the user's intake, suggesting things that are similar to the content that the user is currently engaged with, creating what is called “the recommendation system.” This leads to a lack of diversity, ignorance toward people with opposing veiws, and a plague of close mindedness that is infecting everyone. In the same article that published the study about babies noticing and thinking about racial differences, Dr. Lee claimed that "What parents can do is from early infancy (right after birth) expose your child to other race individuals in person or through media such as books. Interestingly many parents by unconscious choice tend to show books depicting people of their own race.” Parents can show their children books of what other people look like but they need to be able to do more than that. The larger problem is prejudice in general, but how are parents supposed to teach their children to be loving to everyone if they themselves are not exposed to media or information that confronts their own implicit biases? Politics, media, and information everywhere has become ostensible, especially in democracies(Social Dilemma). The media can affect how people see culture, religion, race, political figures, or just about anything else. According to Amanda Sharples, the media cover of Hurricane Katrina,  “turned this natural disaster into a disaster for American race relations by repeatedly broadcasting images of black people who were often described as “looting” in the catastrophic wake of the storm.” Which led to what John Johnson noticed; that these images created stereotypes and “lead white people to endorse harsh treatment of black evacuees.” This is just one example of media using the outlets like described in The Social Dilemma, and the effects accidentally being negative and creating, in this case, explicit biases. In The Hate You Give, the news also feeds people perspectives that justify racist actions. On page 245, the main character Starr watches the broadcast of an interview with the father of the cop that shot her friend unjustly. The father is certain to include details that seem to incriminate Khalil and skew the events to make the situation seem terrifying for 115(the cop). The father says, “‘My son was afraid for his life’” and “‘He only wanted to get home to his wife and kids,’” and ‘“My son loved working in the neighborhood,’” and “‘He always wanted to make a difference in the lives there.’” Hailey, Starr’s acquaintance from school, see’s the broadcast and then because of the way the interview portrayed Garden Heights, has already categorized all of the citizen’s of Garden Heights as criminals, and because the news only showed one side of the story, she did not see that Khalil only sold drugs, because of the pressure from gangs and his urge to provide for his mother who herself was addicted to drugs. Although technological media is often used today because it is the fastest way to spread rumors, the most effective way to persuade people, and the easiest way to target a large group of like minded people, there are still other methods of passing propaganda. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Miss Maudie was responsible for keeping people up to date with recent events in the town, however on page 13, we hear some of the rumors that Miss Stephanie is spreading. Throughout the story, she tells people things about Boo Radley, the social outcast, and how he stabbed his family member with scissors, or walks around at night. Similarly to the example in the The Hate You Give, the minority was taken advantage of. Khalil was criminalized, so that the cop could escape charges. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Boo Radley had derogatory stories made up about him that provided the town entertainment. Scout, Jem, Dill, Hailey, American’s during hurricane Katrina, all developed biases due to the media that they witnessed. The transition from town gossip, to new stations, to social media, has changed the way people hear each other. Implicit bias and prejudice come from what one hears and sees another person saying and doing and it is detrimental. Society has gotten to the point where we can not be loving to one another because the distorted images and feed that are bolstered selectively to people that number crunching computers say are most likely to have a positive reaction. In The Hate You Give as well as To Kill a Mockingbird, people live near others that are similar to them. Starr’s town is predominantly black and the school Starr goes to is predominantly white.

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