The impact that mass media has on the sociological and psychological development in children and young adults is profound. Many young girls, for instance, relate more to princesses in Disney movies than with any characters in movie and mass media history. More often than not, Disney movie characters are well developed to impress their young admirers who are children and young people with developing minds. A majority of children watch the movies countless times to the point of memorizing the songs and dialogue in them. A huge chunk of Disney movies have romantic fantasies of sorts, as well as a hero. In the Cinderella movie, for instance, a Prince Charming rescues her; something that can greatly influence a girl's psyche, including the capacity of the girl to settle for some decisions about relationships as an adult.
It is important that parents manage exposure to mass media among their children. They should offer guidance so as to ensure that the children only watch age-appropriate media; including radio, television, video games, music, and definitely, the internet (NCBI, 2003). Why are little girls encouraged to watch movies like Cinderella and other Disney Princess movies? Foremost, these movies enhance children's communication in addition to problem-solving, language, as well as coping skills (Langham, 2016). Secondly, the Disney movies are the perfect distraction for the children while parents, teachers, as well as, daycare workers engage in other chores and activities (Langham, 2016). In some instances, however, Disney movies teach children new words in non-English foreign languages. The movies are also social tools that children and parents alike, can use as common interests for discussions.
Many parents often want to offer their children constant and regular entertainment. The need to indulge children with things that make them happy has grown into a reflex with some parents having the belief that Disney movies are for kids. The American lifestyle is not complete without movies; and it starts from childhood (Langham, 2016). Recently, however, there is significant increase in violence in child-based movies. There is increasing concern that parents have allowed more time to children to watch such movies. With the advent of the internet going to the movies has evolved. There is Netflix and HBO making access to movies easier and consuming a lot of time; not just from children but young adults alike (Langham, 2016). As such, movies, and not just Disney movies, can lead to an isolative life for children; and such isolation can have an effect on their mental and social development.
Apart from the mental and social development, belief systems can be shaped by Disney movies (NCBI, 2003). If children see violence, unrealistic and sexual content in Disney movies and cartoons, such content can be internalized (Langham, 2016). Consequently, the children can act out such concepts at home or in school. In the event that children lack an established belief system, movies can step in and define beliefs for them (Langham, 2016). Unfortunately, the elements of aggression in child movies not just by Disney but from Pixar and Dreamworks as well, can negate what children learn in school and church, and even at home (Langham, 2016). As far as role models are concerned, Disney movies present heros such as the Prince Charming in Cinderella movies. On racial consciousness, it can be worrying that almost all characters are often white and do not include other races. This is rectified by use of animation; where animal characters take the place of human characters in the movies.
Langham, R. Y. (2016, April 18). The Psychological Effects of Children's Movies. Retrieved from Association for Mental Psychology: http://www.winmentalhealth.com/childrens_movies_media_effects.php
NCBI. (2003). Impact of Media Use on Children and Youth. Paediatrics and Child Health, 301-306.
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