Category: Communication and Media


Media Literacy in the Information Age: Current Perspectives



The mass media heavily influences popular culture. The ideas and opinions displayed in the mass media seem to permeate the society’s daily lives. In this text, I look at the relationship between media literacy and the responsible consumption of popular culture as regards to violence.

 The media and popular cultures as relates to violence

The media seems to influence a big number of things the society engages in. According to Silverblatt (2007), a large chunk of the society lacks media literacy and as such their ability to evaluate as well as analyze media messages is inhibited. This assertion is echoed by Kubey (2001) who notes that today, most people especially those between the ages of 16-27 do not ask any questions at all as regards what they read, hear or even watch.

Hence a large chunk of those within this age bracket have their every move influenced by the media. It can hence be reliably stated that forms of media advertising such as print advertisement have the real ability o inform as well as influence cases of violence based on their presentation. Silverblatt (2007) notes that due to the huge following the media attracts, its messages that seem to exalt violence almost always elicit a response or a consequence. Violence depiction will hence seem acceptable and be largely be seen as the “cool” way to life.  

 Kubey (2001) argues that today, individuals must be increasingly vigilant so as to enhance as well as reinforce their ability to question what they read, hear or even watch. Individuals should critically evaluate as well as analyze print advertisement and other forms of media advertisements so as to increase their media experience and in that line develop ways to identify and identify bias and propaganda.


It is important to note that the one of the ethical approaches to the consumption of popular culture as far as the minimization of negative consequences is concerned includes treating the mass media and its various forms as a notion that demands much evaluation and analysis. 


Kubey, R. (2001). Media literacy in the information age: current perspectives. Transaction Publishers

Silverblatt, A. (2007). Media literacy: keys to interpreting media. Praeger


Rosemary Clinton is the Author of this paper. She is a senior academic writer and an editor and she offers custom research papers. Thus, people that doubt their own writing abilities can use the best custom paper writing service and forget about their fears and lack of confidence by visiting

The Mass Media



The mass media has been identified as one means of information dissemination that has a large influence on people’s lives. In that regard, it is important to note that our interaction with this means of information dissemination, i.e. the mass media, informs a big chunk of the popular culture. In this text, I look at the relationship between popular culture and mass media as well as other forms of information dissemination. I also look into the impact of the mass media on enculturation and lastly give a real life example of this impact.

 The mass media and popular culture

Denesi (2008) defines popular culture as the beliefs, fads, entertainment, arts as well as values which are in one way or the other shared by a large chunk of the society. Because of the arguably big impact the mass media has on the lives of the various members of the society, it informs a large part of the popular culture in that society. In that line a value, fad or belief whether negative or positive is likely to gain a large following in the society based on its coverage and insistence on the part of the media. This is also the case when it comes to the other forms of information dissemination.

In fact, according to Denesi (2008), most of the popular culture components in the modern world is informed by specific actions of the media as well as other forms of information dissemination. In recent times, popular fads like body piercing amongst others have been influenced in a large way by the mass media as well as other information dissemination forms. It is also important to note that as the media attention towards popular culture fades away, so does the society’s attention towards the same. Similarly, it is possible to predict future values, fads and beliefs based on the actions as well as focus of the media.

 Effects of the mass media on enculturation

Storey (2009) defines enculturation as a learning process through which a person identifies with the surrounding culture by learning of its requirements, values as well as adapting to its prescribed code of conduct. The impact of the mass media on enculturation is not hard to see. The media promotes enculturation and soon, one must adapt to the same either consciously or unconsciously so as to fit into the society. One of the real world examples of recent media promotion as well as support of enculturation is the hip hop culture. This artistic culture found itself integrated into the mainstream culture especially the African American segment in the late 70’s.

This with the help of the media as well as other forms of information dissemination became a way of life to thousands of urban young who subscribed to the hip hop culture way of dressing, walking, thinking as well as the various hip hop values (Storey 2009). In urban neighborhoods, those who did not subscribe to the hip hop culture were treated as outcasts and shunned by their peers. In all this, it is fair to say that the media played a gigantic role in populising the hip hop culture both in the urban neighborhoods as well as beyond where it turned out to be a way of life for the youth.


It is important to note that enculturation can either manifest itself unconsciously or consciously. Either way, it plays a big role in molding an individual to be acceptable at the societal level.


Denesi, M. (2008). Popular culture: introductory perspectives. Rowman & Littlefield

Storey, J. (2009). Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. Longman


Rosemary Clinton is the Author of this paper. She is a senior academic writer and an editor and she offers custom research papers. Thus, people that doubt their own writing abilities can use the best custom paper writing service and forget about their fears and lack of confidence by visiting

New Technologies


 Technology is a term that is used to describe the advancement in the techniques and knowhow of man when making inventions in different fields to solve problems easily.  New technologies have helped students finish their work faster and efficiently. The development of computers has helped in the presentation of ideas more effectively by students. The development of the computers in the world of technology has helped students to collaborate together in cooperative learning whereby they can work together in researching topics and creating presentations.

That student with special needs benefits from the experience of the other updated students. The development of PowerPoint has helped in the presentations of group or personal projects such that you can explain findings to your tutor using the soft copy. Word processing has made it easier in the real world technology to excellent writing and thinking skills. Most students have developed good art of writing with this software whereby you can edit your work at any point; you are able to write longer and complex sentences which are easy to revise.

Technology tools that have been facilitated (e.g. graphic designer, database, and word processing software) have helped students in their professions like businesses, communications and research. Not only students have acquired knowledge but also teachers can now make high quality designed projects to be implemented by students. Development of software application of telecommunication and video support has enhanced easier project presentation. (Barbara Means1997) However picking inappropriate fonts and colors may affect students which is a major drawback for new technologies. (Academy of sciences 2010)


National Academy of Sciences 2010.Technology to Support Learning

North Central Regional Educational Library 1997. Using Technology to Enhance Engaged Learning for At-risk Students.


Rosemary Clinton is the Author of this paper. She is a senior academic writer and an editor and she offers custom research papers. Thus, people that doubt their own writing abilities can use the best custom paper writing service and forget about their fears and lack of confidence by visiting


Virtual Reality Technology and Potential Problems Associated with it


                     Virtual reality is defined as environments simulated through the use of computers and these environments can in turn simulate given places in the imaginary and real worlds. Examples of virtual reality environments are primary visual experiences that are displayed through stereoscopic displays or displayed on computer screens.

           Virtual reality technology involves creation of an artificial environment by use of software. This environment is then presented to user who accepts it as a real environment regardless of his or her beliefs. In order to experience virtual reality through a computer, one has to make use of sound and sight. A good example of virtual reality is a three dimensional image that can examined and explored through manipulation of keys and mouse of a computer.

                  Virtual reality technology can be used for training and education though it is associated with some problems which will be discussed below. First of all the virtual reality technology is expensive since there is use of a lot of money for purchasing software and other machines such as computers. The other problem is that the technology has a lot of complications and this makes it hard for students and even students undergoing training.

               There are several failed virtual reality technologies and this makes the use of this technology in training questionable and less effective. The use of virtual reality technology also increase the cost and time spent in training. This is because one has to spend a lot of time and undergo training that will help him or her know how to use the machines for virtual reality technology (Burdea and Coiffet, 2003).

 Distance learning

                Distance learning is a form of learning that helps individuals to achieve their academic goals without suspending their other life commitments for instance job and family. This type of learning also reduces the problems associated with learning and transfer of training. It is essential to design distance learning programs is such a way that they suit an individual’s lifestyle. This enhances flexibility because it enables one to enroll in a distance learning program any time that he or she has some free time.

               The other point that is noteworthy is that the distance learning programs to be designed is such a way that there are unlimited options and hence one can study any given course regardless of the place or location that he or she is. The other way of designing that can be used to avoid learning and transfer problems is having many short terms in throughout the year which enables one to take as many courses as possible within a year. This is better than traditional training programs that consist of only three semesters a year.

                       The other way that can make the process of distance learning much easy and beneficial is providing financial aid. This can be achieved through provision of income tax credits and students loans to individuals taking distance learning programs. This reduces the cases of distance learning participants suspending their learning process due to lack of money (Noe, 2008).

                      In conclusion, distance learning is beneficial since it enhances diversity and hence provides an environment that enables participants to interact with students from different backgrounds, with different life experiences and work. This in turn makes learning interesting, lively and enriching.


Burdea, G., & Coiffet, P. (2003) Virtual reality technology. Wiley-IEEE

Noe, R. A. (2008) Employee Training and Development (5th ed.), McGraw- Hill Irvin.


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Impact of Print Media Advertising on Consumerism and Cultural Values



                Consumerism is defined an economic and social order that creates and fosters the urge to buy goods or services in large amounts. The term may also refer to a movement which aims at informing and protecting consumers through encouraging of practices such as honest advertising and packing and improving safety standards. Advertising seeks to arrest human intelligence in order to get money from it. Print media advertising ahs a great impact on cultural values and consumerism and this essay will highlight some of the major points that show the impact.


Impact of print media advertising on consumerism and cultural values

                     Print media advertising leads to consumerism whereby people find themselves buying goods and services which they never intended to buy in excess. Moreover, it has led to people losing traditional culture and replacing it with what the print media terms as cultural. This has led to acquisition of a culture that is less diverse globally. Print media advertising has affected every life’s aspect for instance the work preference and ethic is dictated by television and movies. This occurs when the characters in movies portray the desirable jobs and the less desirable jobs (Stearns, 2005).

              It is important to note that justice, social responsibility and other concepts are portrayed differently in print media such as radio broadcasts, television and movies. The print media may twist, promote and even abuse the social responsibilities, justice and other aspects.

                      The other major concern of the print media is the happiness of consumers especially when it comes to the human body. The print media gives consumers views on what consumers need in order to be happy and how they are supposed to look. Most of the times the views given by the print media are conflicting and do not give full attention to consumer’s self worth. Hence, media has molded in such a way that they can fit into a given culture dictated by the media. Consumers who do not fit into this culture dictated by the print media are considered or viewed as abnormal or unfit.

                    Advertising has grown exponentially in the last few years due to people using electronic media such as the Internet. This has in turn led to increase in consumerism which most people have employed as a form of culture and way of living. An example of a trend that has become a key issue due to increased consumerism is the trend of pollution. This is because a great percentage of the population is driven by desire to purchase goods or services rather than the need to buy the goods or services. This leads to waste of unnecessary goods and hence pollution (Biagi, 2006).

           Consumption of goods based on desire instead of need leads to many forms of pollution such as noise pollution, water pollution, air pollution and even visual pollution.

                  The print media has changed the human mind in that it has begun to lose a sense of self worth. This is due to the ever changing values and lifestyles dictated by the media. People tend to adopt a trend or value that the media declares healthy and fashionable regardless of whether it is needed or not needed.

                    The second example of a trend that has developed due to print media advertising is the rise in depression cases. Depression arises due to the fact that the human mind seems to be controlled and dictated by the media. People can no longer make their own decisions and this leads to devaluation of self worth and personal feelings. This in turn may lead to depression and most of the times a low self-esteem. There has been a global rise in depression in recent years especially in developed countries and this is clearly due to the impact of print media advertising. This has greatly affected the Americans who have shown increased cases of mental disorders.

                    The third major trend that has developed due to print media advertising is the gradual loss of culture. People are gradually doing away with the traditional values and cultures that were strongly upheld. The traditional culture has been replaced by a totally foreign culture dictated by the media and believed to be fashionable and healthy. Most of the times, the culture dictated by the media is that of the people who rank highest in the social hierarchy. This has lead to the poor people or those who are who are at a lower hierarchical level socially to view themselves differently and unfit. This leads to discrimination and development of a wide social gap between the rich and the poor (Biagi, 2006).

                   In conclusion, electronic media has taken consumerism and advertising to an entire new level especially the Internet. This is a threat to humankind since it will eventually lead to increased pollution, mental disorders and even the loss of culture.


Biagi, S. (2006) Media/Impact: An introduction to Mass Media (8th ed.) Cengage Learning.

Stearns, P. N. (2005) Consumerism in world history: the global transformation of desire (2nd ed.). Routledge


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Writing is an important form of communication which features in most disciplines of education. This journal will help me improve in written self expression and to provide a means through which I will bring writing into this discipline.  the skills I am aiming  to gain from this field are exploratory writing  which  will provide name the space and time  to relate a  new knowledge and theory to discover what I have already learned from  previous knowledge from my topic of research (Moon, 1999, 87).Through writing I will be required to employ critical thinking so that I present a paper that interrelates with inputs and to provide a personal response in the form of doubts, speculations and questions.  I will also have to give various examples that illustrate the diversity of the topic.

I will have to clarify the issue to be researched and select a research method or methods that will best enable me find the data I want. The research methods will assist in conducting the research according to a design or plan. It will then  be clear of  what kind of  data I need and therefore I will  be at a good position to decide what sample size  and the amount of  data I  require.APA format will be the writing style for the research writing. This is because the format will suit my research content. I will also have organized the ideas in the topic for the research paper to have a flow and cohesion throughout the program. This involves emphasizing buy making heading, making cross reference and1highlighting. 

Cross referencing may include colored paper stickers or icons. The quantitative analyses of the journal entry will reveal interpersonal relations through team communication vs. individual work, personal improvement and criticism, lessons learned and future actions. To evaluate and improve ones performance this will call for a goal to be set that will be the final achievement of the program.  Combining of  all the resources we need as a team  like technology,  energy and technology will  assist in  preventing  procrastination  and  time wastage.  Procrastination can be a major problem in ones personal life as well as ones career.  It will also tamper in the goal set which is to be achieved at a certain period of time.

This will require me to place a time table that will assist in time management.  Self discipline is another aspect to be considered in preventing procrastination. Time management will require good planning of financial aid and technology as well as the energy needed in carrying out a research. Finally, support is another most important aspect that is essential in this paper. Interpersonal group support between team members and the tutors is essential.  I will also expect the support from my family members to give me the moral and understand the times I won’t be available while I am undertaking the doctorate program.  I will require constant encouragement from them. This also applies to my peers.


Moon, J, (1999) learning Journals:  a handbook for academics, students and professional development, Rutledge publishers, London, p 87

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Explain How Technology has Changed the Learning Environment


           Technology has today changed the face of education drastically. This began in the 1980’s with the invention of PC. The World Wide Web has acted as a tool of information for many students and professionals. This has both the negative and positive side to the life of students.  Technology has given a chance to students to learn in an environment of virtual learning by downloading lecturers notes to the flash disk or ipod, using the computer to write notes, and emailing assignments to the lecturer.

 Hardware development like CD, VCD, Ipod, flash disks and floppy has enabled students to carry information whenever they go.  By the use of USB memory, students can access any information that they feel it’s relevant by inserting on their laptops or even the mobile phone.  The use on Floppy disk is a thing of the past.  It is a remote facility of information storage. The use of yahoo and Google account to store information is also as thing of the past.  USB is the latest and most important storage facility today.

 By the use of internet, the search and finding of information has greatly changed.  Books are no longer used to learn theories, ideas and inventions.  The use of various databases libraries, Google, yahoo,, and the Wikipedia. Students across the globe can share common knowledge and ideas by the use of the internet.  This has enriched the learning process today.

Some penalties are however, inevitable with the use of modern technology in today’s learning. Students totally rely on information from the Google results or wikipedia.  They are unable to read books on their own and make their personal interpretations in doing their thesis or research papers.  Students also get manufactured essay for their work from online business.  This creates new phenomena of plagiarism that reached its peak in the 1990’s.


The program creates a positive learning environment by helping learners to carefully plan and keep track of their careers.  They are a taught that career opportunities do not come their way but they have to recognize these opportunities and manage them.  This starts by individuals knowing themselves and setting goals for themselves.  The learners then have to weigh their careers to establish what can help them reach and achieve their goals. The course begins by first inventing on the learners interests, values, skills and needs.  By the use of the findings, ones strengths can be established.  The courses also offer tips on how to deal with weakens that holds one back (Skills soft, 2010).

 The program can be improved by assisting the youth discovers their talents. After the establishment of learner’s interests, essentials skills can be offered to them.  This involves skills of management, which should be free of charge.  To maximize the benefits of the program is by guiding the learners to find job opportunities. It is also important for the program to equip learners with leadership skills, stress management, personal effectiveness, and in setting goals.

            The program can also offer techniques which can lead to improvement of creativity, time organization and meeting deadlines, assistance in problem solving and memory improvement. Thinking skills in practice can also be offered in the program. This can be done by reading articles that can help in finding an essential career path and offering of free career skill learning path.


Skills soft(2010) Managing your career: creating a plan demo. Retrieved from

on 26 September 2010


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We all have problems we would like to solve in our day to day lives. For some, stress management may be a big issue while for others, they can’t control their finances. What is common amongst all of us who have issues we would like to work on is the desire to come up with effective strategies to solve such issues. In my case, I do have a problem with time management. This is the problem I would really like to solve. In this text, I describe my problem briefly and come up with a description of the kinds of information I would gather to help me in solving this problem. I also describe the process I would use to evaluate the information that I gather as well as how I would use the information that I gather to solve the problem.

 My selected problem

As described in the introductory section above, the problem I would like to find a solution to is time management. During the week, I work full-time and when it comes to the weekend, I work 2 twelve-hour shifts and this leaves me with little time to engage in any other meaningful activity. The organization I work for during the week is non-profit making and here, my duties involve teaching computer classes to seniors as well as kids. During the weekend, I take care of individuals who happen to have retardation (mental).

             It is hence clear that all my hours are fully occupied and the only time I have for myself is mostly the evenings which during which I turn out to be so tired to engage in any other meaningful activity. Over time, I have developed and natured several hobbies including swimming, badminton as well as chess but now, with my day time as well as weekend job, it has come to be difficult to engage in the same. I am also quite sociable by nature but I do not find much time to socialize. This are some of the factors that have influenced my desire to adopt an effective time management strategy that shall enable me to have some time left out to engage in my favorite pastimes.

 Information to be gathered

There is a wealth of information there on solving issues like the one I have, i.e. time management. This information should include what has or what has not worked in the past with regard to effective time management as well as well as expert opinion of effective time management skills. It is also important to note that the other kind of information I would require include practical strategies towards effective time management.

 When it comes to the information sources, Rosengren (2000) notes that the world is full of information sources but one has to sieve data gathered as not all data is accurate, valid or even relevant to the specific undertaking one is engaged in. With that in mind, I would choose an information source that is relevant to time management skills. I would obtain this information from relevant internet sites as well as journals and other library sources including books with topics touching on time management skills.

 The Process of Information Evaluation

In the process of evaluation I would consider a number things including the validity, relevance as well as accuracy. When it comes to validity of the information, I would consider information which in one way or the other accurately reflects as well as comes up with an assessment of the particular issue of interest at hand i.e. in my case, time management. This essentially means that I would disregard all information that does not pass the validity test.

The next thing I would look out for in the evaluation of information is relevance. In this case, I would take relevance to be the applicability of the information gathered to the derivation of a solution to my problem i.e. time management. Last but not least, as far as the evaluation of the information gathered is concerned, I would take into consideration the accuracy of the information gathered. In this case, I would take accurate information to be the correctness as well as the exactness of the information gathered.

 Utilizing the information to solve the problem

To solve the problem I would apply the information gathered to my life on a day to day life. This would mean planning the course of action for each day and ensuring I adhere t the same each passing day. Further, I would carry on more research  the based on what I have gathered so far so as to increase the reliability of the information I would have gathered.


It is important to note that not all information gathered can be branded as useful, valid or even accurate. The importance of he evaluation process can not hence be overstated and in that regard, the quality of information as well as data gathered would be largely dependent on these three aspects.


Rosengren, K. G. (2000). Communication: an introduction. SAGE


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Media and Violence



Over time, commentators have blamed media influence for a wide range of violence activities. During the James Bulger murderer’s trial, the judge blamed ‘violence videos’ exposure as having been the main motivator for the ten year olds who committed the heinous act. Next, we have the Columbine High School massacre where in the aftermath of the same, news writers and other analysts were in agreement that movies like ‘the matrix’ had a role to play in the same alongside Marilyn Manson music. It is however important to note that some analysts have disputed any link between media and violence. Those disregarding any connection between media and violence however base their arguments on shaky grounds and it is against this backdrop that this text tries to bring out the impacts of violence on TV, news as well as videogames.

 A discussion

Sometimes in the first quarter of 1993, a murder that came to dominate news items took place. The murder that took place in February 1993 was that of James Bulger, a two year old who was kidnapped and latter killed by two boys who were aged ten at the time of committing the offense. In his ruling, Justice Morland was of the opinion that the crime could have been motivated by violent videos. The sentiments of the judge provided fodder for news items with the Sun newspaper encouraging people to pile up all their nasty and violent videos and burn them “for the sake of our children.” This is a classic case where there is a clear link which has been identified between media and violence. According to Boyle (2005), what we watch largely influences our actions the same way a mentor influences our actions. The premise here seems to be that we tend to be informed to a great extent by what we watch on TV. When confronted with problems which require our speedy attention, we are more likely to solve them in a ‘proven’ way as depicted in a certain media. The impact of such ‘mentorship’ can be disastrous for minors whose reasoning ability is not well developed and whose distinction between right and wrong may be somewhat blurred.

 According to Freedman (2002), around 2000B.C., one of the most prevalent forms of entertainment for Egyptians was the re-enactment of the god Osiris murder. Freedman (2002)goes ahead to note that according to historical accounts, a good number of killings which were taken to be the copycat of such entertainment were committed. It is probably such events together with the societal preference to spectator sports that were considered lethal that motivated Saint Augustine’s comments that the society seemed to be largely fascinated by instances of bloodshed.

 According to Boyle (2005), violence and entertainment have always been intertwined in one way or the other. However, many are in agreement that in the recent past, there is something about media violence that seems to have changed. That is, recent times have seen an exponential increase in media violence. This can be highlighted by the research carried out by Jacques de Guise and Guy Paquette who happen to be professors at LavalUniversity. In the research which took place over a period of seven years, there was a sustained increase in physical violence (media) occurrences. This was particularly in the period between 1992 and 1993 where instances of violence (media) registered a 300% increase. When it comes to T.V shows we had media violence averaging at a about 39 violence acts every single hour. Whereas this research targeted Canadian television networks analysts are of the opinion that it is the case globally.

 To reinforce the findings that instances of media violence motivate increase in crime rates as well as rates of violence Jacques de Guise and Guy Paquette found out that during the period of research targeting Canadian television stations, there was a sustained raise in violence instances in Canada. Through the percentage increases in both scenarios are not identical; one can easily conclude that there is a connection (positive) between media violence and actual instances/occurrences of violence.

 Research shows that in the last one decade, media violence has become increasingly sadistic as well as more graphic. It is common place to view pictures of bullets in slow motion hitting people in movies. This is indeed what millions of people all over the world are treated to on a daily basis. A big chunk of these individuals are children.


It is important to note that concerns regarding media violence have risen exponentially largely because of globalization of media. According to a 2008 report by UNESCO, approximately 94% of households in US have television sets. Worldwide, the number of households with TV sets was found out by the same report to stand at about 64%. This essentially means that the number of individuals who are being exposed to illicit material as well as violence in media is mind bogging. As is already widely known, media violence has a wide range of negative effects. In that regard, the material the populace is exposed to thanks to the media through a wide range of mediums including but not limited to violence on TV, news as well as videogames is worrying.

 Absence of consequences with regard to violence in the media

According to Freedman (2002), in the current day and age, violence has come to be viewed as a way of solving problems and this is largely informed by entertainment where we have the hero and the villain using violence every time they need top solve a pressing issue. According to CMPA or what is popularly known as The Centre for Media and Public Affairs, more than 50% of violence in movies as well as other television transmissions is committed by those who are presumed to be on the good side. Further, CMPA is of the opinion that violence is largely justified and presented as inevitable by the media. Hence people seem to associate violence with the solution to problems. This essentially goes ahead to erode the morality of individuals and created a society where the culture of impunity is well entrenched.

Previously considered as relatively reserved when it comes to violence, music has recently taken a new turn where it is increasingly becoming or being seen as an advocate of violence. A good case to make our reference from is the 1999 solo album by Jordan Knight. According to Boyle (2005), this solo album had a particularly disturbing song that seemed to glorify date rape. To further illustrate the penetration of violence into music, in the year 2000, we had activists as well as politicians in Toronto petitioning the government to ban the proposed performance of a musician, Eminem, who was to perform in the country. The grounds on which the activists as well as political based their arguments on were that Eminem’s songs contained lyrics that were largely seen to be violet, especially towards women. For example, we have a song by the same artist where he is graphically depicted killing his wife. In another song, Kill, Eminem plans to murder his own mum. However, it comes as no surprise that Eminem continues to be a huge success both internationally and at home. This can be attributed to the promotion of violence by the media. Others who have gained massive airplays for their use of wordings with violent connotations in their songs include Limp Bizkit and Dr Dre.

 When it comes to video games, violence has also become a staple. Freedman (2002) notes that it is a sad trend that videogame makers are coming up with games that depict players as the bad guys where they have to butcher innocent individuals so as to earn extra points. it is important to note that it is not enough to rate such videogames as they also have an influence, mostly psychological, upon mature viewers. In addition to that, they can those in their teens can easily access such movies which end up corrupting their minds and reasoning. For instance, we have one of the best selling PS 2 game ‘grand theft auto 3’ glorifying the use of violence and drugs. In this game, players earn points by attacking, slaying and stealing all sorts of drugs from pushers and other individuals. The main theme of such a videogame that has attracted a cult like following is sickening. We have another sickening videogame referred to as Carmageddon where the main way to earn points is by slaying innocent pedestrians in the most graphical format one can imagine. Mind you the game comes with visual as well as audio enhancements where we can even have the cracking of bones to maximize the ‘excitement’.

The amount of violence in videogames is highly worrying and according to a 2002 study by MNet, young people are increasingly becoming addicted to games. Indeed, in a 2001 study by MNet, it was found out that close to 69 percent of adolescents have interacted with a videogame in one way or the other. The exposure theses young people are getting coupled with the content of such videogames continues to raise concerns across the board and as such, there have been laudable calls for speedy actions to be taken to avert the effects of nurturing a violent society.


It is important to note that the war against the promotion of violence in the media can only be won by the concerted efforts of all the players in the industry. We need to see more and more media houses denying airplay to music, movies as well as broadcast material with extreme graphical violence connotations. Moves like the one that denied the 2002 music video ‘what it feels like for a girl’ by Madonna airplay by MTV amongst other media houses for its violent graphics should be a common occurrence other than a rarity.


Boyle, K. (2005). Media and violence: gendering the debates. SAGE

Freedman, J.L. (2002). Media violence and its effect on aggression: assessing the

Scientific evidence. University of Toronto Press


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Film Review-Psycho-Social Aspects of Disability

Film Review-Psycho-Social Aspects of Disability

 Sling Blade.

           Bob Thornton stars in Sling Blade’s lead role as Karl childers-a mentally handicapped man who has led much of his life in a psychiatric hospital since he was twelve. Childers lands into a state mental institution after killing his mother and her lover. Childers spent 25 years under institutionalization before release. The movie portrays how difficult life can be for people that are mentally retarded, because society finds it hard to accept them in their midst.

          It also shows the threat and challenges that such people pose to society, because at times they may engage in criminal and unlawful activities. Childers spent much of his life in a state psychiatric institution, however; this does not change his state any much because society is not ready for him just as it was before being institutionalized. The movie is a clear portrayal of the challenges that mentally retarded people have in common. Childers found nobody that would willingly accept him as family or friend, however; he finds young Frank, a fatherless boy with whom they form a strong bond and friendship.

         The film also shows that mental conditions may at times lead retarded people into committing crimes without understanding the repercussions of their actions. This is exemplified in the film by Childers’ action of murdering his mother’s lover. Childers told Frank that he did it because he had thought that the man was raping his mother. However, on discovering that his mother was willingly participating in the relation, he decided to also murder her. The commitment of crime by retarded people such as Childers may be cited as the main reason why most mentally retarded people are institutionalized (APA, 1984).

          The ability of Childers to get back to society, and at least acquire a job at an engine repair shop shows that mentally impaired people can still live “normally” in society like many other people. Childers had developed interest in engine repair since his early childhood and during his time in institutionalization. The film also depicts that proper institutionalization and training is able to help mentally impaired people get back to society and become constructive.

            Frank finally introduced Childers to his mother (Linda) and her friend Vaughan, who also happens to be a manager at the store that Linda works as an employee. The two receive him with little passion, and after hearing about Childers’ past Vaughan gets concerned about Childers history in the mental institution. However, Linda decides to let Childers move into her garage and this action angers Doyle-Linda’s boyfriend. This part of the film depicts how people are always wary about accepting mentally impaired people into their homes or lives. As time went by Vaughan also came to fully accept and bond with Childers.

         Probably because he also knew the ridicules and intolerances of society on people that were thought to be different like him and Childers. Vaughan was gay, and his state of being different somehow made Vaughan identify himself with Childers position in society. The film shows how prejudiced society can be in handling mentally impaired people or at least people perceived to be different. Doyle ridicules and talks badly about Childers because he knows that he is retarded, and his action greatly angers Frank who comes to the defense of Childers as his best friend.

            Later in the movie Childers becomes Frank’s father figure as their relation grows closer, and in turn; Frank’s hatred for Doyle grows because he is abusive and arrogant. Childers’ shows more humane feelings that greatly contradict what people may think about his past actions. Childers’ regards Frank as his younger brother. He goes to extent of revealing to Frank about his past ordeal of disposing his unwanted, prematurely born brother. Childers states that the event greatly haunts him most of the times, and as a result visits his further in a subsequent scene to reiterate that killing of his brother was wrong.

          Childers revealed to his father (Duvall) that he had contemplated murdering him because of the action, but later was convinced that it was not worthwhile. The movie seemingly tries to show that mentally impaired people are reasonable, sensitive and that they too have feelings just like any other normal individual within society. As such it tries to show that if well handled they can live and act just all other normal humans. However, the temperamental events engaging Childers indicate that mentally impaired people may have abnormal anger and ways of thinking that may make them make rush actions that could harm other people perceived to be a threat to them.

           As a result, they ought to be treated carefully. This can be exemplified by Childers action of murdering Doyle. Doyle’s increasingly abusive and insensitive nature greatly angers Linda who kicks him out of her house. However, later Doyle returns after reconciliation with Linda. Doyle later threatens to bring about changes including kicking out Childers, and this greatly angers Childers. Childers realizes that he can take action against Doyle and plans to murder him so as to lessen the pain and problems that he is causing to Linda and Frank. Childers’ plans to have Linda and Frank spend a night at Vaughan so that he can carryout his plan.

          On the night of the crime Childers seems to have doubts about the plan. He walks away, but later hesitantly returns into the house. He inquires from Doyle on how to reach and direct the police, then goes ahead to murder him with a lawn mower that he had sharpened during the day. As the film ends Childers turns himself in and calls for a hearse to pick Doyle’s body.

           Childers is then taken back to the mental hospital that he was in before, and while there he rebuffs a sexual predator who had been using him earlier in his horrible acts. The fact that Childers had earlier been molested used in the film to indicate how some people may take advantage of mentally handicapped people by using them in acts that are demeaning and at times harmful. The film is a clear picture of the ongoing problems that people that have mental illnesses may be facing.

            Their state of mind may not be totally impaired and they can reason, think and perform various tasks. Similarly, as social beings they can relate well with any other people in their environment. However, the poor reception, mistreatment, ridicule and mistrust that people accord them at times could drive their mental state into a more serious state (Eisenberg & Glueckauf, 1991). As a result, they may become deranged and end up doing serious offensive acts. Institutionalization may not be the only solution, though it may be used to hold mentally disabled people as they go through processes of training and behavior shaping. Additionally, society should be more appreciative and accommodating to people with mental disabilities so as to make them feel accepted.

 Passion Fish

            Passion fish was directed and written by John Sayles. The 1992 release stars Mary McDonnell-May-Alice Culhane-a very successful soap opera star that goes into paralysis after being hit by a taxi cab. Living a successful independent and happy life was all Culhane knew about before the accident, but after the accident and subsequent paralysis she goes into a state of dependency. She has to rely on a series of nurses in all his activities. As a result of the accident she has to move back to her family and rely on their help.

          She gets almost deranged and mad at every one trying to help her in life. She loses her acting career and that makes her really angry because she learns that she can never get back to her normal life. She has to go through a series of new training to help build her upper body strength that will be her only source of support. The film shows how a person’s life can change after encountering accidents that may cause partial paralysis. It portrays how people can get bitter as a result of getting paralyzed. These emotions of anger, self pity and helplessness create bitterness in an individual as portrayed by Culhane’s case.

          In turn, a person goes into a state of loneliness and withdrawal, to the extent that they fail to understand or accept the fact that there still may be people that care about them anymore. As a result, a person develops a state of solitude and desires to always be left alone (APA, 1984). Culhane shows this by getting into a habit of getting intoxicated, abusive and stubborn to her nurses. Consequently, most of the nurses leave her after a short period of service. Culhane finally had to go back to her empty family house in Louisiana- a place she had desired to leave in her earlier days before taking up her acting career in New York.

             The stress and trauma she had undergone made Culhane drink heavily. She vented her bitterness and anger on various nurses that come to take care of her because of the influence of alcohol and bitterness in her. She further refused to even listen to psychologists that visit to counsel her. Her state of mind got worse each day as realized that she may never go back to her normal life.

            Finally, Culhane met Chantelle. Culhane was warned that she would be the last nurse that she was going to get due to the fact that she could not keep any of the nurses that she received for her home care. Luckily, Chantelle was in a position that made her wish and desire that the job should work out for her. Chantelle’s stubbornness matched Culhane’s and as a result Culhane could not easily repulse Chantelle. On the other hand, Chantelle was also a recovering drug addict, and as a result she could not afford to lose the offered job opportunity.

           She too had her own problems, and thus; she would not wish to have Culhane make her let go. The mutual dislike between the two women finally becomes an armed truce. The two women finally, deal with deal with their own problems as well as help each other in recovering from their emotional problems. Their successful emotional healing indicates that no matter the lose or stress and trauma that accompanies, with the right mindset it is possible for victims to attain a full emotional healing if they can only open up for help.

            Despite the numerous praises accorded to the film people and society at large still fail to understand the plight of disabled people. Especially, those that fall out of active life into disability due to accidents and diseases that causes problems such as paralysis. In Passion Fish Culhane offers a good example of not only how a person’s life can transform both in terms of his/her physical life and mental state. People need to learn that disabled people are not so much bitter at any person in particular, but rather their state of being (Eisenberg & Glueckauf, 1991).

           Therefore, living them in this state because they do not seem friendly or accommodative may not serve in helping them recover at least emotionally. These people need to be shaken out of their miserable self pity so that they can realize that there is still a life to live. In some instances some of these disabled people have even gone to the extent of committing suicide, just because there was no one to attend to them. Take Culhane’s instance for example; had Chantelle not badly needed the job to work out for her, she would probably have left too. Finally, Culhane would have been left on her own getting more miserable than ever. While in the real sense, only a dedicated person was lacking-one that would be determined to make it work.

            Like so many disabled people Culhane failed to accept the state that she had landed into, and thereafter try to adapt to it. This is depicted by her refusal to train so as to develop upper body strength that would enable her survives in her current state. She lives in denial, not accepting that indeed there was nothing that could be done and that she was now just like any other disabled individual. Living in denial is portrayed throughout the movie as Culhane refuses to accept or cooperate towards any activity meant to help her recover and move on with life.

           Any practitioner dealing with such difficult people may find it so hard to assist them in their recovery process due to their disturbed mental states. However, it takes dedication and perseverance to see them through, and thus; any person wishing to help or work with such people should have these qualities. These may not be easy to acquire naturally, but these practitioners could be trained on how to handle such people (APA, 1984).

 Children of a lesser god

            Children of a lesser god, is a 1986 production of a romantic film featuring a speech teacher working in a school of deaf students. The teacher falls in love with a deaf woman that works in the same institution. Sarah, the young woman is a troubled deaf woman that performs cleaning duties at the institution. James, the new teacher at the school encourages the lady to break her solitude and try to associate and learn how to talk.

          Sarah is adamant because she already knows how to use sign language and deems it unnecessary to learn how to talk. In the process of encouraging her to talk the two develop romantic interest, and later they move in and start living together. Their relationship gets strained as James tries to get her to talk without giving up. Finally, the relation breaks and Sarah moves into her estranged mother’s home in a neighboring city. Later in the movie the two lovers find an amicable way to solve their problems.

            The films main aim is to get the viewers to understand the combination of factors that have made Sarah’s life as it is. In a certain scene within the movie James and Sarah attend a party full of deaf people, and this makes him feel out of place. This served to show why Sarah was always withdrawn-because of feeling out of place in a world where everyone could talk and hear whereas she could not. Through the film we also learn that Sarah was molested as a child, and this coupled with her inability to talk makes her withdrawn and unwilling to readily accept James’ advances.

          Sarah a graduate of the same school that she works for decided to remain within the confines of her school because she did not want to go out the world. This is because this was the only place that she understood better and in turn could be understood and get accepted. The film tries to give a message about effective teaching as well as about people that have to cope with handicaps in life. A mature audience should be able to get to understand problems faced by deaf people through watching this film. The film also depicts the challenges that deaf people have to face in community as they try to relate, communicate and associate wit people.


            All the three reviewed films present the same theme though in a different manner. The theme of disabled people and the kind of challenges that they face in a society that is so prejudicial, judgmental and discriminative. Society seemingly offers very little attention and help to people with disabilities. The worst thing is that most people go ahead to ridicule and discriminate against people with disabilities instead of helping them cope with life. On the other hand, these films also show the problems that some disabled people have in recovering of states of disability acquired at an older age.

          All the highlighted form of disabilities makes the disabled people helpless and meaningless in society. This is worsened by the fact that some people worsen the situation by ridiculing these disabled people instead of helping them in coping with day-to-day life. The disabled people facing such kind of treatment tend to get bitter and angry at actions that make them feel helpless. Disabled people may in turn respond in violent manner to vent out their anger and bitterness either physically or by getting abusive.

            This is shown by Childers who murders Doyle, and was intending to murder his father because both of them had done actions that made him angry. Some of the disabled people may become withdrawn because of this reason, as a result; avoid associating with people. This is exemplified by Sarah’s case-she would not feel comfortable in the world outside her former school because she felt isolated and alone in a world whereby she could not communicate freely with anyone.


APA, (1984). Rehabilitation psychology, Volumes 29-30.Springer Publishers Company.

Eisenberg, G.M and Glueckauf. L.R. (1991). Empirical approaches to the psychosocial aspects of disability. Springer Publishers Company.


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