It is becoming more and more difficult to escape the influence of the media on our lives. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of living in a media rich society.

The media is about communication and I suppose most of us would agree that, as human beings we need to communicate. We need to know what is going on in the world generally; we want to be entertained and to keep in touch with people. Older media, such as newspapers, radio and TV help us do this, but the newer media, particularly the internet and mobile phones go further. We have more choice in terms of what we watch or who we talk to.

I have an iPhone which allows me – just by using one device – to make phone calls, use the internet, listen to music, play games and watch videos. And it’s all immediate, and portable. It makes you feel in control, but there are disadvantages too.

People are always texting and emailing each other and if they don’t have their phone or laptop around, they feel cut off. Also, have you seen a group of teenagers in a cafe where they’re not talking to each other, but using their phones? It’s a very common sight these days, which many people feel is worrying, as we seem to prefer using technology to face-to-face communication.

We are also spoilt for choice – perhaps too much choice. There are so many TV channels, but so many of the programmes are poor quality. There’s also so much advertising all around us, trying to persuade us to buy things we don’t really need. To survive in such a society, you have to be very aware of the power the media can have over you, your actions and your opinions, and try not to let it control your life.

To my mind, there’s no doubt we live in a media-rich society, and there’s nothing we can do about that. What we can do is use the media responsibly and not let it use us.

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