How does the mass media serve as an enforcer of social norms?

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Mass media is a very powerful entity. It can serve as an enforcer of social norms by providing insight into what may happen when societal expectations are violated. An example that comes to mind is the television show, Intervention. Intervention is a reality program that follows drug/alcohol addicts and...

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Mass media is a very powerful entity. It can serve as an enforcer of social norms by providing insight into what may happen when societal expectations are violated. An example that comes to mind is the television show, Intervention. Intervention is a reality program that follows drug/alcohol addicts and eventually offers them help to become sober. This program shows society what can happen when the societal expectation to be a productive member is breached. It shows the very ugly side to drug and alcohol addiction; a major problem our society is facing. This program is portraying the importance of leading a healthy, happy life without the use of a controlled substance. Mass media can enforce social norms by reaffirming proper behavior.

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The mass media act as an enforcer of social values in many ways.  One way in which they do this is by showing the consequences of breaking certain rules.  For example, there is the show “Teen Mom” on MTV.  This show depicts the problems that are faced by teenage mothers.  By broadcasting this show, MTV is enforcing the social value of abstinence, or at least of avoiding pregnancy.  Other parts of the media enforce social values in a more positive way.  They do so simply by showing people acting in ways that are seen as normal.  When the media portray people acting in these ways, they send the message that this is the proper way to act.  This, too, enforces social values.

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