Should we change or should social constructs ?

Raising a child would have to be one of the hardest jobs in the world. As a mother your maternal instincts always are demanding you to do ‘better’ for your child. New York subways have been recently filled with teen pregnancy prevention ads with the intention to reduce the number of young parents, which measured in 2011 was around 17,000 pregnancies alone in New York. However, the new campaign had received backlash from all corners of society, with many questioning whether the $400,000 campaign could have been spent on more positive attitudes towards teen pregnancy, such as providing resources to teen families to avoid them dropping below the poverty line.
Nevertheless, the campaign is out in public and with numerous signs all conveying the same meaning, that a child SHOULDN’T be raising a child. This idea is clearly evident when looking at the signifiers used within the advertisement. Each poster draws emotionally on the individual with features such as:
• Each poster displaying a child crying or in distress, exaggerating the pain in which a child would ‘apparently’ go through if raised by a teenage mother.
• The children’s eyes become of focal point of the picture, conveniently placed in areas where our eyes as viewers are drawn to.
• The use of rhetorical questions increases the pressure and feeling of uncertainty in viewers as they cannot provide the answers.
• Each poster also comes with a statistic used to intimidate the audience. Humans like fact, knowing the end result rather than jumping into uncertainty. These facts immediately influence the wider community into negative conceptions about teen pregnancy.
If we look beyond the superficial exterior of this ad, which obviously is to encourage safe sex and inform teens of the severity of raising a child, we begin to explore the issues of social stereotyping and ‘fear’ tactics. Controversial ads like this create negativity towards social groups, such as teen mothers, alienating them from society. In the long run is this really helping them? Or are these ads extending the problem. The idea of using ‘fear’ as a way of influencing society has been used in campaigns against smoking and obesity. However, research on using confrontation to shame and humiliate people in addiction treatment concluded that “It has failed to yield a single clinical trial showing efficacy of confrontational counselling, whereas a number have documented harmful effects, particularly for more vulnerable populations.” (Time, 2013).
The promotion gets the message across as clearly as a slap in the face. But I believe it also should encourage us to change our social concept towards teen pregnancy. As we know social intimidation leads to exclusion, thus an increase in ‘risky behaviour’. This ad challenges my personal ideological views to be more welcoming than excluding. As stated by the RH Reality Check group “Teen pregnancy doesn’t cause poverty, poverty causes teen pregnancy”.

Szalavitz, M, March 28 2013, Why New York’s Latest Campaign To Lower Teen Pregnancy Could Backfire, Time, Viewed 21/03/2014,



Instagram = The amount a ‘wannabe’ Hipster weighs

Instagram. The ever rising up and comer in the social media world. In 2012 it increased 23% compared to its affiliate network Facebook which only increased 3% in the same year. So why is Instagram continually growing whilst other sites have seen better days? When we think about Instagram our first thoughts are immediately directed towards images. Thousands of pointless images roll across our newsfeed daily. According to fact browser approximately 8,500 photos are liked every second. The most popular photos that appear on our newsfeed include the infamous duck pout and classic bikini-in-bathroom shot. And how could we forget the exclusive plane wing shot? But why is it that we have this obscured desire to share our life with the world?

Studies conducted by Pew Research Centre and American Life Project show that the largest demographic using Instagram is 18-29 year olds. So why is it that ‘Gen Y’ are so obsessed? What is the meaning behind it all? Are we that poor that we cannot afford meals that we must place all food we consume in a time capsule, set in chrome lighting, to relive its awesomeness? Or must we make our social status public by posting images of our ‘binge drinking’ shenanigans. Captured with countless amounts of friends to prove we are participating in social norms, and therefore accepted within our peer groups? Or are we all living out our secret desires to become professional photographers and enlightening others with our stylistic visions?

Whatever each individuals meaning may be behind this absurd addiction we do know that Instagram acts as an extension of the eye within society. Allowing us to see halfway across the world, and even possibly deep into the emotional state of our family and peers. However, for some people Instagram has a much higher purpose than expressing ones feelings, dreams or desires. For people within the retail world, Instagram has become a popular resource for promoting products to perspective customers. Especially clothing retail stores are seeking the benefits by placing product smack bang in the middle of popular consumers’ faces. All looks positives as sales are up. But what are future implications of this?

By promoting product over social media sites will this change the physical nature of sales within society? This idea could potentially lead to the loss of physical stores within shopping centres, thus affecting the availability of jobs. By eliminating sales person jobs you’re also eliminating the need for shops and therefore shopping centres. By erasing such large constructs of communities we could be affecting the popularity of small towns and communities with limited job prospects. This can lead into a variety of large scale situations including an increased rate of low socio-economic status within society.

Putting future implications aside Instagram has reshaped the way we now see the world. It is able to transform the tiniest thing into a work of art and create a sense of life. But who knows if we’ve started a domino effect?

Ps. I chose Instagram for my technology.


Recipe for Disaster ?

After a close inspection of the media effects model it came to my attention that it was another example of human ignorance. As a species it is my belief that we are incapable of accepting the concept of ‘failure’ and would rather ‘pass it on’ in layman terms. The media effects model was constructed to be an easy escape goat. Behind all the scientific terms and fancy words, the model singles out media for being the sole purpose behind increasing acts of violence, misconduct behaviour and a simple lack of disrespect for authority. By blaming media for promoting violence within children we avoid looking at the real issue of nurture and development. This idea is evident in Gauntlett’s article ‘Ten things Wrong with the Effects Model’ where he states that the  model tackles social problems backwards, meaning that society are falsely jumping to conclusions rather than investigating all possible factors.

This idea that Gauntlett brings up is evident within the Sandy Hook massacre case in the United States. On the 12th December  Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook elementary school. Cases of such a degree often bring media into the limelight with the public questioning what would cause some young boy to do such a thing? Many jumped to the conclusion that exposure to hours of ‘violent’ video games was the main catalyst. Of course it couldn’t be human development, could it? As an investigation took place and we began to look behind the superficial life of Adam Lanza, full of late night video games and an anti social presence within school. It was discovered he had suffered his entire life with multiple mental disorders including Autism, Asperger and SID. He was also a victim of a broken home and an absent father. When considering all the factors that come into play in Adams tragic tale can we really say media was the cause of his horrendous act?

The results of the media effects model are often heavily criticized with the studies conducted in artificial settings limiting the effect of the overall experiment as a result of misapplied methodology. This is due to people jumping to conclusions before hand. However, a study conducted between 1985-2007 by the AMA council on science and public health contradict the popular notion that video games promote violence, as they found no direct link between violent video games and increases in long term violent behaviour. The main psychological effects found within the study was (DSM)-IV or more commonly known as internet addiction which has been shown to jeopardize other life factors and cause dysfunctional relationships. However, this is only found in 10-15% of gamers and making up 9% of this number are MMORPG players who are involved in highly social, constructive games were the sole purpose is on interaction with fellow players, thus ruling out antisocial behaviour which is linked with a tendency to violent behaviour.

The media effects model is a recipe for disaster found in the “Asking the Wrong Questions” cookbook. Including ingredients such as minimal idealistic views, unjustified stereotypes and a narrow approach. Cooked in an oven of misapplied methodology and served with an inconsistency topped with little evidence or substantial link. The final product served to us on a silver platter with the purpose to induce an anti media coma.


Stand up and Introduce Yourself…

The reason for my late introduction post is due to the simple fact that I would classify myself as being ‘technically challenged’ or incompetent to the ever evolving world of social media, blogging and general computer, Iphone, Ipad, Android and Tablet technical issues. But, seeing as this is mandatory, (and i wouldnt mind makuing a few friends along the way) it is probably best that I throw myself into the deep end and hope I can swim.

Howdy! My name is Brooke Duffy. I am 19 years old and live in a small town called Fitzroy Falls up in the Southern Highlands. My interests are late night phone calls, long walks on the beach and talking about my feelings.. I know its a lame cliche’ line but, it is a habit of mine to continuesly quote movie lines throuhgout my every day life. But, in all seriousness my passions in life would have to be sport. A ball sport, racket sport, racing sport, you name it, I follow it. My favorite without a doubt tho would be soccer. After dedicating 15 years of my life to the beautiful game it has done nothing but reward me with the opportunities and lessons of a lifetime.

The beginning of the autumn session 2014 was not my first time at this rodeo. Exactly 12 months ago I was starting out as a first year PE student and terrified of everything. Walking around campus over the last week and a half i can easily identify the new students who are currently walking in the same shoes as me only a year ago. Not to make any of you feel self-conscious but it is entertaining to watch and at the same time rather embarrassing as i think to myself… Gosh, did I really look like that?!

Anywho, after a tough year I made the decision to transfer courses into a Bachelor of Media and Communications. Throughout my life I have always found great comfort and hours of enjoyment with a pen and paper. I like to think that i have a so called ‘knack’ for writing, but I’m sure I will find out in the coming years.

I have exceeded the word limit (as I knew I would) even tho i was hesitent to write on my first blog but in this moment right now, in the library I am feeling an overwhelming sense of pleasure and satisfaction. This blogging thing may become quite addictive!


#bcm110 #bcm112 < no idea if that actually does or mean something…