Archive for February, 2010

In 9 out of the 10 blogs I’ve written for my school project in my New Media communications class, I’ve found and discussed many negative effects about different areas of the media. And now in my 10th and final blog I feel it appropriate to discuss what the media provides for human civilization and how much we depend on the media to function in our day to day lives.

The media has made its mark in our lives, and allows us to access information all over the world from the comfort of our cozy homes. From the moment we wake up in the morning we depend on local television programs to inform us about the weather forecast and traffic reports so we can make it to work or school on time. We also depend on the media to enlighten ourselves about events and news all around the world. Throughout everyday of our human lives we are exposed to the media, whether it be television programs, movies, music, billboards, advertisements etc. And as easy as it is to bash the media because of the negative affects it may bring about, humans rely on the media in order to survive in this day and age.

Manali Oak writer of the internet article titled Positive Effects of the Media discuss how research reveals that the media is very influential on people today. He states, “research has revealed that media is responsible for influencing a major part of our daily life. Media contribute to a transformation in the cultural and social values of the masses. Media can bring about a change in the attitudes and beliefs of the common man. The persuasive nature of the content presented over media influences the thoughts and behavior of the general public. Media has a direct impact over the lifestyle of society.” (Oak) As Oak discusses the media has over taken the lives of humans it affects us in our thoughts, beliefs and behaviours and we wholeheartedly depend on the media to exist in our society today.

The media teaches humans about a variety of different things and brings people together, and although there has proven to be a number of negative aspects involved in the media, the media truly does in rich and fulfill the lives of people everyday.


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On January 25th, I wrote about Bill White, a neo-Nazi extremist with a habit for posting cruel blogs in particular regard to Jewish people.  I would like to follow up on this with the recent developments in his case.

As of December 6th, 2008 White was being held in the Metropolitan Correction Center in Chicago, Illinois. He remained there a year until the trial back in December 2009. At this trial, he was convicted of on four counts for crimes he has committed. In recent developments, the charges were dropped regarding an incident with Ottawa Lawyer, Richard Warman. Three counts still remain on the table and his sentencing is due to take place on April 14th. If all these charges stick, he faces up to 30 years in prison (Hammack, 2008).

The reason I bring this up again is because I want to emphasize the point that even though the internet is not a physical entity, what you say on it may have lasting consequences. Whether it be via Facebook, Twitter, a public blog, a text message or an MSN conversation all these forms of communication can potentially be a channel for hate speech and a breach of our rights. I believe that Bill White breaches section 2B of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian equivalent to the American first amendment. He breaches the free speech barrier and stands by his own rules, the “offend –as- many- people- as- you- can- with- your- personal- opinions” mantra.

My mother raised me in such a way that if I didn’t have something nice to say, then I shouldn’t say it. Perhaps, hate speech bloggers should take a lesson from my childhood and seriously consider what is happening to Bill White for his actions.

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Time of Change

There are many people in the world that put their freedom of speech to good use and bring a positive atmosphere and sometimes a positive outcome for a city, country or even world. Unfortunately, not everyone puts their right of speech to a good use. Hate speech; is any type of speech that is hurtful, discriminatory, racist, etc. and is sadly very common. These people are abusing their freedom to speech and can almost be considered as harassment since their main goal is to put a negative message across. Fortunately, small steps are being made to lower the rate of hate speech; “many universities, under pressure to respond to the concerns of those who are the objects of hate, have adopted codes or policies prohibiting speech that offends any group based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation”(American Civil Liberties Union). Universities and other public places that are adopting these steps are helping obtain a more positive society. Hopefully, if more people were to follow in these steps, there would be less depression in the world, or a lower rate of suicide and negativity in the world.    

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When Barack Obama was announced as the 44th president of the United States – and the first African-American – on the 20th of January 2009, a lot of people believed that the U.S. would change forever more. This is exactly what President Obama did, brought a positive change all over the United States. He was brought in to “a global economic recession, two on-going foreign wars; and the lowest international favorability rating for the United States ever” (Bio True Story). So, fortunately, he began his presidency with change; “he campaigned on a ambitious agenda of financial reform, alternative energy, and reinventing education and health care – al while bringing down the national debt”(Bio True Story). Due to the positive change’s the Obama was making for the country, many American’s we’re starting to have a more positive outlook on life and wanting to change themselves and the world for the best. If it weren’t for Obama speaking out to the world during his campaign, letting the American’s know that he could bring positive change for them, the U.S. might still be in time of crisis. Obama had another problem at hand, if we won the election, he would be the first African-American President, and for people to take that first step is a lot to ask for. It was through his use of free speech and talking about his concerns from his heart, with no limits that convinced the people that he would fit the part. Therefore, there can be many positive outcomes through the use of free speech and I think that people should continue to speak out in positive ways so they too can bring out the best in themselves and others.

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With the increased use of children on the internet, parents and guardians are beginning to realize the amount of information their children and being introduced to. This understanding and realization are forcing the parents to begin to make some things on the internet private. An online article, titled Parental Mediation and Children’s Comprehension of Online Privacy, released the amount of time spent on the internet of children between the ages of 6 and 8 which was “about 2.7 hours per week online and those 9 to 12-year-olds spent 4.4 hours online” (Cai, 2005, p.1). That may not seem like a lot to an older audience, however for a young individual, who is very impressionable; this is a great deal of time in which they are being bombarded with ads and information. Going on the internet is not a family activity so without having some programs and sites blocked the caregivers would have no idea what information their children are being introduced to. The internet is relatively a new invention so, depending on your parents age, they may not know exactly what one can find on the internet and therefore children and parents seldom talk about both the positive and negative things one can find. In 2004 only “four percent of parents used some type of program to filter out unwanted materials for children” (Cai, 2005, p.1).

Since there are now so many concerns about children’s privacy on the Web an Act has been passed, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, in 1998. This Act is directed towards “online operators who target children under the age of 13 or who knowingly collect personal information from children” (Cai, 2005, p.2) forcing them to abide by the law. This act requires children’s websites to “post their online privacy on their homepages and every page where information is collected [and] when children’s personal information is collected, parental consent must be obtained prior to the collection” (Cai, 2005, p.2). Unfortunately not all sites follow these rules.

There are many things in our world that we do not agree with, and since free speech is a human right almost everyone realizes that we will hear and see things that we do not agree with. However, when someone is young and has yet to make up their own minds on certain issues, seeing and hearing about a certain stance without knowing his or her possibilities can cause them to be swayed to a wrong side. This Act can help parents to ease their children into the real world of freedom of speech.

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A lot of people will spend a big part of their life trying to find that special somebody, that one person that will complete you and spend the rest of your life with you. Well, sometimes it`s hard to just meet Mr. Right on the street or through friends, but with today’s technology, there are multiple dating sites like eharmony.com, lavalife.com, plentyoffish.com, etc. that help people meet their better half. Sites like lavalife.com permit you to create a profile just like you would on Facebook; you get to describe yourself, what kind of things you like, what kind of things you are looking for, what you do, and so on. Considering the site allows the user to post things about themselves and what they are looking for, they are putting their freedom of speech to use and speaking out for what they want. You don`t hear about accounts being closed down or punishments being made on any of these dating accounts because it is ‘made’ for expressing one’s self. So, if these people are being encouraged to talk about themselves and their opinions, why shouldn’t anyone else be encouraged to express their opinions, for example through protests?  How many people have protested something and have been told off or forced to stop because it`s insulting to some or inappropriate? But these dating sites give you the right to post explicitly your thoughts on topics. It’s hard to find a middle ground and decide what is morally acceptable and what is not.

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“Ad”ding Up!

Advertisements are the media’s way to influence people to buy their products. Advertisemnts can be found in all branches of the media including television commercial, newspaper ads, billboards, coupons, flyers etc. Humans are exposed to advertisements everyday and many of us have the belief that the reason we buy commercial products is because we have decided to do so, and not because an advertisement persuaded us to do so.

Although all people are influenced by advertisements children and young adults are at a greater risk of being affected. Karl Sutana writer of the internet article, The Effects Of Advertising On People explains why children and young adults are at a greater risk of being effect by advertisements as opposed to adults. He defines, “for children and young people there are particular problems associated with the effects of advertising. They are the one who are often vulnerable to messages which are put forward in the advertisements. They like to measure up to their peer group and feel pressurized by the images that they see on screen. This leads to eating disorders, for example, associated with advertisements featuring idealized thinness.” (Sutana) It is unfortunate that teenage health problems may occur because of the negative views on body image that are displayed in advertisements.

Advertisements are something that humans have become partially desensitized to, although they truly are effecting use we still choose to believe that we chose to buy the product because it is a personal need. This is probably due to the fact that we have to much pride to admit.

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