We live in an age where digital technology is easily accessible to the vast majority of the world’s population. Adults, the elderly, and the youth are all entwined within cables and wires that tie us to our digital devices. Excessive use of such devices can threaten our cultural identity-but how far has the issue really developed, and is it worth taking seriously?
What is Digital Technology?
In terms of advertisement, digital technology refers to any electrically powered device with a way of promoting a product or service. For example, computers use their screens, and radio devices use sound for advertisement purposes. Television is another example; it is one of the oldest ways of digitally advertising a product or platform and is still in use today.
How Does Digital Technology Help With Advertisement?
As of late, digital media has become the main way of promoting a product. Social media, in particular, has helped in this phenomenon and has yielded impressive results like never before.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram sell advertisement options to their customers and then promote products to all those who use their platform for free.
There is an undeniable impact of such practices upon all the users of said platforms. Apart from social media, television, general websites, and radio shows are all sponsored by advertisement companies. These advertisements, or ads, have left a strong mark upon our cultural identity as a whole, and also as individuals.
Can Digital Technology Impact Cultural Practices?
Yes, digital technology can and already has impacted our culture vastly. Regardless of whether advertisements exist or not, the digital age has managed to cultivate its own culture that runs parallel to society’s older traditions.
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For example, now, many families spend time together in front of the television screen and deem it “quality bonding time.” This is troublesome because, despite bringing the entire family together physically, watching television together does not help bring people together emotionally, nor does it cultivate healthy debate, or any other mental activity. In fact, many members within the same family are often glued to individual TV screens and simply don’t have time to spend with each other.
The digital age has depleted our culture; where people used to meet one another and spend time talking, they now choose to browse the internet on their individual phones over a cup of coffee, allowing for very little bonding to take place.
Apart from family time, technology has also infiltrated personal relationships, especially between groups of friends or partners.
It is extremely common for one partner, especially those who work and come home tired from their jobs, to choose to sit in front of a screen instead of spending quality time with their partners. This is an undeniable truth the vast majority of millennials and generation Y experience with their partners. It leads to frustration on the side of the partner who is not glued to a screen.
In some cases, both partners choose to spend more time with their screens than with each other. This can cause rifts in the relationship; it begins slowly and comes on with such subtlety that it cannot be detected. But, sadly, over time, both partners begin to spend so much time apart from another, despite being under the same roof, that they develop an emotional split.
As for friends, many groups have been torn apart by rifts concerning social media posts. It is extremely common for young and older people alike to nit-pick at one another and constantly challenges each other about their whereabouts, particularly those ones that are advertised online. This causes rifts in the friendship and can eventually tear apart what were once strong bonds.
Advertisement Culture and Society
Lately, the internet has seen a surge in advertisements, particularly on social media platforms. This surge is due to the extreme ease with which individuals, groups, or companies can launch an advertisement campaign.
Firstly, the cost of the advertisement is extremely affordable. In many cases, a single dollar is enough to reach an average of 1000 social media user profiles. With appealing rates like this, it’s no wonder many businesses have shifted to an online advertisement.
Secondly, there are not many laws or rules concerning what can and cannot be advertised through online means. In many cases, explicitly sexual products are advertised. These products sometimes show up on profiles of users who are under 18 or 21 years of age; such practices are unhealthy, especially when it comes to minors. It can lead to moral corruption and can challenge traditional cultural values that even parents cannot set right once again.
Many advertisements, particularly those on billboards or TV, physically exploit their female models. Large campaigns, like Victoria’s Secret, exploit their models and force them to maintain extreme body features that are often unhealthy. These models are then asked to advertise clothing and accessories, which are then broadcasted across worldwide screens. Such advertisements promote unhealthy body standards and can cause severe mental disorders, like body dysmorphia or anorexia nervosa.
Young girls, in particular, are the victims of these unhealthy beauty standards that are broadcasted without any consideration by such extreme capitalist organizations. These girls then grow up hating their bodies and adopt extreme practices that lead to health complications, both mental and physical.
The practice of encouraging young women to eat healthily, which is prominent in certain cultures like Mexican and some Eastern cultures, has been threatened by such advertisements and platforms.
The influence of digital technology and certain advertisement practices is undeniable; the majority of these influences are negative and can cause long-lasting problems. It is up to us as a society to fix this before things get out of hand.