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Psychological effects of exposure to different ideologies, opinions

Concerns raised over inappropriate contents

By Ghadeer Ghloum

KUWAIT: Now, more than ever, exposure to different ideologies and opinions is easy through several media platforms. With the wide space of freedom and limited monitoring, inappropriate content has become not just easily accessible, but also pops up on the screen without one’s choice. This raises concerns for society’s morals, especially among teenagers, as they are in a vulnerable phase of mental and ethical upbringing.

Regarding improper content’s effect on individuals’ personality, Psychology Specialist Dr Ali Al-Baghlani told Kuwait Times: “Exposure to inappropriate content definitely has an effect on individuals’ personality, because people naturally give and receive from others, which takes part in shaping their personality and mentality.”

Today, almost everyone can display their thoughts, regardless of whether they are good or bad. “Especially in this social media era, being exposed to unsuitable content has become easier and widespread. Unfortunately, most movies and series are now presenting perverse ideologies and highlighting and giving them greater attention,” Baghlani said.

According to him, inappropriate content is not only easily available, but also prevails over other content that has better value and lessons. This raises serious concern when it comes to teenagers. “What makes the issue worse is that teenagers are not prevented from being exposed to such content, which creates a fertile atmosphere for them to be affected by improper content and consuming its ideas. To avoid being outcast and in order to keep themselves updated to get along with others in their age group, people, especially teenagers, become mindless disciples of trends on social media platforms, which are spreading widely and appearing rapidly,” Baghlani said.

Parents are also concerned about raising their children in this era. Om Aziz, a mother of three, is concerned about her children, believing that social media is competing with her over values and beliefs. “My kids are still young, but I can already see there is a gap between them and myself with regards to values and norms that I have been raised upon,” she said.

Despite their young age and immaturity, children are being exposed to wide and deep ideas that can develop their mentality in other directions, which may not adhere to their parents’ or their society’s standards. “By time, I see raising kids becomes harder, especially teenagers, because they have a lot of curiosity, yet are still vulnerable and unable to think wisely. Convincing my kids about our values has to go through a long process, because they are being exposed to a diversity of ideologies, of which some are undeniably good, but others are very bad,” said Om Aziz.

She is not against using social media, because it teaches people to recognize and coexist with human diversity. “I do not see that avoiding social media platforms is a good decision, because I cannot deny that it has a lot of advantages with the diversity of content that is present. It teaches my kids to accept and acknowledge diversity, which I am not against. However, I worry about some perverse content and bad values, because my kids are still young and unable to clearly differentiate between what is right and what is wrong and what are the consequences of embracing certain beliefs and disregarding certain values,” she pointed out.

As a suggestion for individuals to protect themselves from being easily affected, Baghlani said: “To emancipate ourselves from following unsuitable ideologies, we have to get rid of the pack mentality. We have to stick to our values and respect them in order to fix the direction that content on social media and other media platforms are heading towards, or at least shield ourselves from it.”

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