Impacts of Technology Assignment
Impacts of Technology Assignment
1. In Chapter 4, Sternheimer discusses the concerns about technology raised by the communications scholar Neil Postman, who was fond of saying “technology giveth and taketh away.” What were Postman’s main concerns about technology’s impact on our ability to think? According to Sternheimer, in what ways was Postman “partly right”? Given that she was writing in 2013, does her argument (and/or Postman’s) hold up in 2018? In your mind, what has the internet age done to our critical thinking skills?
2. Discuss some of the scientific studies on television that have been conducted over the years. What were some of their key findings, and what seem to be some of their insights and limitations? Specifically, what links do these studies find between ADHD (and even autism) and television? Do we see similar issues surrounding internet access?
3. What problems does Sternheimer find with linking media to violence, and what approaches does she suggest as an alternative? What role might media play in making the public think that violence (and youth violence in particular) may be more common than it appears? Finally, what factors does Sternheimer suggest are better indicators for violence?
4. How has the media approached the relationship between violence and video games, particularly since the Columbine massacre in the 1990s? What issues does Sternheimer find with the argument that children are prone to imitating media violence? Finally, consider the followingon a crime blamed on Grand Theft Auto. Is this another example of media hysteria surrounding video games, or do you believe such games require closer scrutiny?
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3. The problem that Sternheimer find with linking media to violence is that it is complementary to the American focus on individualism, where people tend to consider an individual’s behavior as stemming only from personal options instead of social forces. To support her perspective, she also quoted Freedman’s evaluation of study published in English that explored the media-violence connection and the conclusion that “the evidence…is weak and inconsistent, with more non-supportive results than supportive results”. For this reason, she suggests other alternative approach which is to study violence before studying media. As the media plays a role in making the public think that violence may be more common than it appears, particularly via action movies, music, first-person shooter video games, etc, they can influence people’s thoughts, tastes, values and beliefs. However, such personal interest and participation with violence media are far more complicated than just a cause-effect relationship. Finally, Sternheimer suggests that it is noteworthy that the inability to distinguish fantasy from reality is a key indicator of psychosis in adults, but many seem to accept this as a natural condition of childhood and even adolescence.
4. The media approached the relationship between violence and video games by connecting them and blaming the latter for causing more violence, particularly after the Columbine Massacre in the 1990s. Accordingly, moral panics typically have a triggering event which gathers significant media attention, much like the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, did in 1999. The issue that Sternheimer finds with the argument that children are prone to imitating media violence is that acting out violently is a far more complicated issue. For example, the Columbine shooters perhaps used video games to practice acting out their rage onto other social members, yet where the will to carry out such extreme levels of violence originated is far more complicated. As a matter of fact, instead of implanting violent images, video games and other violent forms of popular culture engage individuals into dark virtual fantasies and act violently in the cyberspace. in the recommended YouTube video, police say Zachery Burgess went on a dangerous joy ride after playing a popular video game and blame the Grand Theft Auto for producing more violent criminals. However, I don’t think such games require closer scrutiny. Instead, the social force instead of personal preference is more influential in engaging people in violent behaviors.