Collapse of the World’s Fundamental Social Unit: Mass Media’s Tremendous Impact on Families

Kayla Groat
University of Maryland University College

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Abstract Our nation’s modern media acts as a devastating destructive force to the family unit in America, and its effects are felt worldwide. The rearing of children has been taken from the hands of parents into grips of mass media. Producers of mass communications render inaccurate societal depictions, and individuals respond in active accordance with what is portrayed. Media embeds messages of violence, body image, and teen sexuality, all of which encourage single parent and/or cohabitating homes out of wedlock and destroys marriages through pornography. Continuation of this family degradation cycle will result in the collapse of the family as a social function and force for stability in communities as well as on a worldwide scale.

Introduction “Families are the cells which make up the body of society, if the cells are unhealthy and undernourished, or at worse cancerous and growing haphazard and out of control, in the end the body succumbs” (Doughty, 2008, p. 1), says Justice Coleridge, senior judge in charge of family courts across South-West England for the past eight years. Coleridge, who has been presiding over cases of divorce, children in care, and family break-up, has also determined that “the collapse of the family unit is a threat to the nation as bad as terrorism, crime, drugs or global warming” (Doughty, 2008, p. 1). Surprise should not come from this declaration itself, but in the fact that the members of today’s society have become so numbed that readers are likely to mistakenly disregard this statement as the product of an outlandish theorist. Americans are seemingly oblivious to the devastating crumble of the family unit despite witnessing failure of half of all marriages, rampant teen pregnancies, and single-parent, cohabitating, and broken families to such a prominent extent that an American family today who meets the profile of a traditional family is labeled as “abnormal.” In America’s past, the family unit formed the core of society; however, with the advent of reckless mass communication, there has been a breakup of this key moral determinant.

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