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What are the causes of the dependence on the media?

Ten years ago was the first time I began thinking about the influence of the media on the human mind. At the time, I was living in Hong Kong and often used to ride on their subway surrounded by advertisements for McDonald's restaurants. The trains even had pictures of hamburgers on passengers' seats. After a few days, I felt a desire to eat in a McDonald's restaurant, even though I had never enjoyed their food.

I have often been thinking about whether such intensive advertising could be considered a form of "mental rape" and how it is possible that we do not understand the effect of advertising on the human mind.

After some time, I realized that everything we see around us was a reflection of our own spirit or, more accurately, the lack of expression that is closely related to the media.

Two years ago, one of the founders of the Pozitiv Center for Digital Media, Alek Kezele, told me that the media had changed "the energy between people" in a very short amount of time. I decided to translate his idea into the language of science.

Three years ago, I began writing a PhD thesis at the Institute of Political Study in Lyon which aims to analyze the influence of the media in the society. I have realized that the standards for measuring the dependence on the media have not been defined and that in the 21st century it is strategically necessary to examine how people can become "zombies" under the influence of materialistically-oriented media.

In the course of my study, I received help from my professor and my PhD co-supervisor, Dr Srbobran Brankovic. He complemented my survey of media usage and asked his students on the subject of Media Analysis to conduct a research on a representative sample of 2200 citizens of Serbia.

The research showed that two thirds of Serbian citizens were dependent on the media in some way. Regarding the usage of the media, 21.3% of participants use the new media more than the traditional media; at the same time, 50.6% of participants feel that the new media are manipulative and that they do not correspond to reality, while 77.4 has the same opinion about the media in general. According to the results, citizens have more trust in the new media, although they have demonstrated a higher level of dependence on them.

These results will be crucial in the launch of a global program that aims to measure the dependence on the media and how much the media content corresponds to reality. I am convinced that this is a fundamental issue in every society, since it examines the relationship between representation of citizens and the influence of the mass media on the society.

Every day, we are faced with negative news that have a far-reaching influence on our mind. The age of technocracy in which we live is based on the dominance of indirect instead of direct communication. When parents hear a news about someone drowning in a lake, they tell their children to stay at home because it is dangerous outside. The same can be said of various pandemics supported by commercial interests. We are being invited to escape from reality, while the natural "frequencies" of our lives are being gradually shifted.

This is how we perceive the situation and, according to the results of our research, this is what the citizens of Serbia recognize as the main influence on their attitudes. On the other side, the media content that we do not recognize as negative has a much stronger influence. The emotional void, the lack of honesty and 'creative industry' – these words describe the work of robotized media professionals. Instead of being artists, journalists have become workers who merely apply templates instead of being led by true emotions.

 Pozitive Center for Digital Media has launched an investigative-educational program aimed at examining the influence of the media on the human mind and advancing the media. We are proud of the partnership with the Media Center Belgrade, Radio-Television Serbia, the multimedia project My Hero (Moj heroj), TNS Media Gallup, the Faculty of Culture and the Media, the Institute of Psychology of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, and the Department of Media Study within the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad. The educational and research project was initiated from Serbia.

Ljubisa Bojic

About the authors

MC Newsletter,
October 21, 2011

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