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Non-Profit Organizations and Media Awareness

Media plays an important role particularly in our contemporary society. It is ubiquitous, from the shows we watch on TV, the music we listen on the radio, to books, newspapers and magazines. Imagine how life would be without the media? People in societies would be much isolated even from their own governments, neighboring towns and cities not to mention the rest of the world. Media facilitates the flowing of information which is very critical for any community that aspires to develop.

Due to limited information, people’s opinions and views would be also limited and consequently this would make their impressions and deductions of the world around them to be dwarfed. Over the past few decades, media has become a great necessity almost like food and clothing. It is seen to play a strengthening role in the society and assumes the place of mirror of the society itself. Its purpose is to inform, educate besides entertaining people. However, on the other hand media has its own disadvantages which have contributed to rise in social evils.

For this reason people need to be aware of the influences of media and exercise their own discretion as they consume media services. Therefore, the purpose of this

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presentation is to discuss the influence of media and the role of non-profit organizations in media awareness with special focus on Media Awareness Network in Canada. The term media, is widely used as a short form for mass media, encompasses a countless array of institutions and individuals who have diversified purpose, scope and cultural inclinations among others.

Though there is no concise definition of mass media, it refers to all forms of information communicated to large groups of people that includes a simple hand made sign to international news network. Mass media comprises books, magazines, newspaper, recordings, radio, Television, movie and the internet. By expansion of digital technology the definition of mass media is becoming a little bit confusing (Overbeck, 2006). Influence of media has been so powerful that its effects cannot be denied.

It has been observed that children are greatly influenced by media as they learn by observing, imitating and taking the behaviors they observe to be their own. As a result of this influence of media has called to attention of parents, educators, and even health care professionals. Its influence among children has increased steadily as new and more sophisticated types of media develop and made available into the public. Its availability coupled with greater affordability by families has made it easier for children to be able to access it.

By the fall of twentieth century, it was marked by phenomenal growth and development of new kinds of media. It is during this time children were able to access film, radio and newspapers as forms of media. As early as 1940’s onwards, children’s media expanded to include television, recorded music, videotapes, electronic games, internet and interactive computer software. Besides this, there were print media such as comic books and children’s magazines though their expansion was superseded by the rate of visual electronic media growth.

With such developments, beneficial effects include early readiness for learning, enrichment in education, opportunities to view or participate in discussion of social issues, exposure to the arts through music and performance together with entertainment. However, harmful effects of media may result from sensationalization of violent behavior, exposure to explicit or subtle sexual content, promotion of unrealistic body images and exposure to persuasive advertising targeting children among others (Wimmer & Dominick, 2005).

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