Over the years, the advancement of media and communication technologies continues to transform culture, society, and individual lives. Consequently, media psychologists play an important role in helping the community understand the interaction between humans and the media, and how they influence our culture, health, environment, and behavior.
Media psychology plays an essential role in society. First, media psychology is critical in helping society adapt to the rapid change in technological advancement. Secondly, it helps the community in the understanding influence of the media on society and therefore advocating for accountability and responsible use of media, for instance, censorship of television programs (Rutledge, 2019). Moreover, it helps in protecting the users from detrimental impacts such as infringement on privacy, consumer manipulation, and portrayal of violence by creating awareness and allaying social anxieties (Rutledge, 2019). Thirdly, it helps society and users to understand the context of the information, such as dynamics in interpersonal relationships and social structures. Lastly, it plays an essential role in mentoring and educating future professionals in the field of media psychology, hence ensuring growth and continuity in the profession (Rutledge, 2019).
Media psychology has translated psychological theories into practice in the media industry. It has significantly influenced social perception and cultural changes for instance in terms of gender stereotypes (Kirsch & Murnen, 2015). For example, a study conducted by Kim et al. (2015) found that media stereotypes objectified women, and women were valued based on their physical appearance. Therefore the authors noted that such stereotypes are endorsing traditional social gender socials roles and can cause reduced condom use and women becoming more submissive (Kirsch & Murnen, 2015).
Secondly, media psychology has enhanced our understanding of how behavior influences our preference and use of technological devices. For instance, increase in access, and use of social networking among millennials, and increased frequencies in the posting of photo-selfies made psychologists investigate the relationship between human behavior, personality disorders, and the choice of media (Barry et al., 2015). A study found no association between personality and the frequency of posting photo-selfies on social media (Barry et al., 2015). However, increased use of selfies on physical appearance was more common among students who reported challenges with self-esteem. Therefore, the use of social media has influenced how we view our physical appearance, including self-esteem.
Lastly, the use of bibliotherapy is one of the traditional therapeutic strategies in inpatient management (Fischoff, 2005). Equally, video games are used in clinical therapy and for recreational activities, and their success has been attributed to research studies that confirmed the importance of video games in the clinical management of patients with personality disorders (Fischoff, 2005). Furthermore, Breuer et al. (2015) reported no significant association between age, education, physical aggression, and violent video games. As a result, such studies have impacted significantly on the use and adoption of video games for therapeutically and recreational activities. Therefore, youths and adolescents are spending more time playing video games, and as a result, causing harmful behavior among children and adolescents.
Barry, C. T., Doucette, H., Loflin, D. C., Rivera-Hudson, N., & Herrington, L. L. (2017). “Let me take a selfie”: Associations between self-photography, narcissism, and self-esteem. Psychology of popular media culture, 6(1), 48.
Breuer, J., Vogelgesang, J., Quandt, T., & Festl, R. (2015). Violent video games and physical aggression: Evidence for a selection effect among adolescents. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 4(4), 305.
Fischoff, S. (2005). Media psychology: A personal essay in definition and purview. Journal of Media Psychology, 10(1), 1-21.
Kirsch, A., & Murnen, S. (2015). “Hot” girls and “cool dudes”: Examining the prevalence of the heterosexual script in American children’s television media. Psychology Of Popular Media Culture, 4(1), 18-30. doi: 10.1037/ppm0000017
Seabrook, R., Ward, L., Reed, L., Manago, A., Giaccardi, S., & Lippman, J. (2016). Our Scripted Sexuality. Emerging Adulthood, 4(5), 338-355. doi: 10.1177/2167696815623686