Within the media highway we all know and appreciate there are more dangers than we first see when we look at the phenomena.
We have looked at many aspects so far but one that troubles me greatly is the extremism this medium appears to foster.
Extremism comes in many forms and it appears that extremist behavior, to get noticed, is today more of the ‘norm’ than we realize.
Self expression has always been a freedom, especially of the young and no one of any age can tell me that they did not rebel against their parents and go out dressed outlandishly, pushing out boundaries as they did so.
However we now have religious extremism throughout the world and that is the only thing people think of when they hear the word today.
There is far more extremism now in all things; is the media the cause of those boundaries appearing to be lost?
I deliberately asked this week, on the Neath Ferret, for people’s views on control of the internet in the light of the April Jones trial; harrowing accounts of which have shocked us all to the core. Or have they?
It appears that Mark Bridger was looking at extremist sexual and murder sites on the internet immediately prior to kidnapping little April from outside her home. Should he have been able to access sites like this? Had he not been able to, could the outcome for April have been very different?
The big question is also why he looked at sites like this. What drives people to look at things that others find abhorrent? Is it only profit that drives people?
The responses I got from the posters on the Neath Ferret all point the same way. Even those who believe passionately in the freedom of the internet do not condone the use of it for such nefarious purposes as it is currently being used for.
One post struck me more than others :-
“I feel on times that we are going to drown in our own man made filth - the filth of the internet.
We are governed by laws and cannot do as we like - even to the point of having strict control over car parking.
Therefore some sort of control over the internet would, I am sure, be accepted by all reasonable people”.
Is the internet also a divider, as is life? Does it mimic life with different factions? Those who are extreme and those who are not extreme.
“All reasonable people” are key words from this poster. Who defines what is reasonable?
We have governments to enforce laws which ensure that vulnerable people are protected, otherwise the law of the jungle would prevail and only the strong survive.
The makings of what we deem to be a civilized society is one where the weak are cared for by the strong. However the internet is a new strain of being, a phenomena and one which is possibly in need of being reined in. Not only do the media use it to their own advantage but it appears it is possible for people who are not the ‘reasonable’ people spoken of by a poster but those ‘unreasonable’ or ‘extremist’ people to perhaps suddenly find an outlet where laws do not stop them from being anything or doing anything they wish.
We have looked at this behavior on chat and dating sites; how people have become detached by distance; how responsibility is no longer necessary; how people are controlled by images and subtle advertising; how manipulation on a large scale is being practiced and free thinking is something to be avoided at all costs.
Look at the violence of computer gaming which is something we will discuss in future weeks, is this also distancing people from responsibility for their actions? Why has this been allowed to progress to the point where children and adults have become addicted to games, foods, shopping, excitement and yes extremism?
Is it the media that has driven this change?
Is anything ok as long as someone makes money?
Is extremism the price that must be paid for freedom?
To get noticed today, is as important as drawing your daily breath. Take many of the icons held up for your children to look up to, Katie Price, Paris Hilton, Jodie Marsh etc.
Where is the decent hard working young person who has no need to mutilate their body or to perform outlandish acts to be noticed and lauded by all and sundry?
We have programmes such as Jeremy Kyle, where dirty washing is aired in public for what is portrayed as entertainment. I feel embarrassed for them that they would show the worst aspects of their life just to be noticed.
Media is using these people for their own reasons. The people who run these shows no more admire or look up to these people than they would to a fly under their boot.
The people in the media company get paid for putting on ‘a show’, the stupider the people the better.
So why do people wash their dirty laundry in public?
Stardom beckons, at whatever cost.
The case of Zoe Orme was highlighted in the Sun Newspaper recently, where she sent pictures of her naked breasts to 185 people she met on the internet who then paid for the pictures and helped her to raise the £5,500 she needed to pay to have her breasts enlarged.
Is this vanity right?
How would you feel if Zoe was your daughter?
I hope she paid tax on the profits, as any of us would have to if we earned money. PAYE on boob pictures, why not?
I wonder were those people equally generous in donating to children’s hare lip repair operations.
Does the religious extremism that nations are terrified of mirror the extremism that is portrayed on the internet and in the media?
We know that people need a safety valve as they are harangued with violent and sexual images daily. You have to shut off or go under, but when you shut off are you shutting out the good as well as the bad?
So can the internet be tamed?
Can we revert to gentler times?
Will the powers that be rein in the media and stop the race for the biggest, brightest, best and remember that ‘reasonable people’ do exist; they are the backbone of society and need leadership and perhaps curtailment of those areas of society which, while possible, might not always be in the best interests of that society as a whole.