The Effects of the Media on Today's Youth
The media today is having a profound effect on society, especially its youth - The Effects of the Media on Today's Youth introduction. When it comes to people’s behavior in society, adolescents usually look to the media for guidance. Teens today today are reliant on the media to tell them what is acceptable and what is not. It tells them how to look, how to act, even what to say. Social media definitely has an impact on the daily life of a teen. Most teens have some way to connect with friends using a social networking site. Young adults, much like the citizens of the distopian society in Fahrenheit 451, are dependent on the media for guidance and are almost unable to function without it.
The media is brainwashing adolescents into changing their views of acceptable behavior and body image. It is also making them dependent upon the internet social media. The inflicting media has strongly influenced the behavior of adolescents today. First of all, violence in the media has been a huge problem among adolescents. Media violence is desensitizing viewers, most of whom are children and adolescents, to real life violence. This gives them false and distorted views of the world, causing them to be far more aggressive and restless.
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Also, most children’s television shows these days depict violent and foolish acts with no moral or educational value. (Stuttaford 1) Also, most video games contain extreme graphic violence. Believe it or not, the American military uses first person shooting games to desensitize new soldiers to killing and war. (CAM) Similarly, the media also desensitizes adolescents to drug and substance use. For instance, in some ways, the media depicts drinking alcohol as fun and risk free. Those who abuse alcohol and drugs don’t suffer any consequences.
Often movies and TV shows depict drinking and drug usage as normal behaviors, thus influencing teens to adopt the habit. Odds are, if teens view scenes of smoking and drinking they will be more likely to actually use the drugs at an early age. (CAM) Also, a link has been found between the approval of cigarette commercials and young adults smoking. Students who regarded the the cigarette commercials as inflicting are more likely to become smokers. (Rabak-Wagner) Also many, social networking sites partake in sharing stories about the thrill of substance abuse and usage.
All these things in the media contribute to inflicting drug usage upon teens. (CAM) Therefore, the media has a major influence on the way adolescents behave. The media is always inflicting images of “beauty” upon young people causing their opinion of their body to change. Studies have shown that girls who desire to be like media icons are at a larger risk to develop an eating disorder. The way teens interpret the media’s opinion of beauty can cause them to be dissatisfied with their looks, resulting in them being more vulnerable to eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.
If teens look to media icons and models for guidance on how to look, they will try to live up to unrealistic and virtually unachievable expectations. (MPB) First, in TV and movies, beauty can be displayed in the main characters, or protagonists. For example, a study in Figi has proven that the amount of girls with eating disorders have rapidly increased since American television programs started showing female leads who were extremely thin. The young viewers, who probably wanted to have the celebrity’s body type, turned to eating disorders in order to be thinner, like their idol.
Next, the internet can be a place for young girls to look for help to prevent or stop their eating disorders. However, there are over 100 pro-anorexia websites! These horrible websites not only give tips on how to “binge and purge” or how to severely cut back on calorie intake, but they also encourage the use of distorted eating! (CAM) In addition, there are also billboard and TV advertisements for companies, such as Victoria’s Secret, that are showing images of super skinny models that aren’t even real! Most advertising companies use photoshop and airbrush tools to make the models look the way they do! Rabak-Wagner) In places like New York City and Las Vegas there are advertisements like this everywhere!
Courtney Warren, a psychology professor at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas said, “Living in a context that promotes highly rigid, unattainable, unrealistic sexual images of thin, young, ideal-looking men and women can have an affect on how adolescents view their body and adversely affect how they achieve a body image. ” In other words, when adolescents are in the high profile world they are immersed in the idea this is real beauty and this is how they should look. MPB) All in all, the media inflicts images of beauty that teens feel the need to live up to. Teens today are living in a digital age where social media and the internet not only has a strong impact on their lives, but is also described as addicting. Social media websites like tumblr and Facebook are taking over people’s lives! Teens are always on their phones sharing pictures and stories and trying to see what their friends are up to. Nine out of ten teens have used social media and three out of four teens have an account on a social networking site.
More than half of these teens check their social networking sites more that once a day. Most teens would describe themselves as addicted to their devices and want back a time when there was no social media, such as Facebook. (TSM) Wade, a 14 year old from San Francisco, reluctantly agreed to give up his mobile devices for seven days in order to partake in an experiment. He managed to go a week without his daily hour of youtube videos and updates on Facebook and Twitter. His life revolved around technology and social media. For some teens checking and updating their social networking sites isn’t an obsession, it’s a lifestyle.
The internet and social media is very distracting and a huge cause of procrastination from work. (Lamb 1) Many teens who are addicted to their social media wish for a time when there was no Facebook or want to unplug. (TSM) Teens today are so immersed in social media today, that the art of face to face communication is lost. Overall, social media is addicting and is a foundation for procrastination. The popularity of the media among teens is allowing it to influence their behavior. The way teens behave is influenced by the media due to the amount of drug usage and violence in movies and television shows.
This causes them to be desensitized to real life violence and makes them more aggressive and restless. The amount of drug usage causes teens to want to use drugs and alcohol because it looks fun and inconsequential. Also, the media puts out images of beauty that young girls want to live up to, leading to eating disorders. Lastly, the social media is distracting, causes procrastination of work and hinders people’s ability to speak face to face. People don’t realize how intoxicating the media really is. The world must realize this or they will fall victim to the impact of the powerful media.