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The Effects Media Has On Teenagers Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 2181 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In the last 10 to 15 years, the influence of media has grown exponentially with the advancement of technology. Starting from 1990s, the majority of our population did not have cable, teenagers back then relied more on news papers, magazines and internet, which at that time was considered a luxury. With the passage of time, trends changed. Technological advancements and an economic boom have lead to an increased standard of living. Teenagers were exposed to media like never before. Cable networks and internet that were once luxuries now became necessities. Media influences greatly in development of a teenager personality and character. “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses,” said the American black militant leader Malcolm X (qtd. in Krishna). The power or influence of media can easily alter or change a teenager’s opinion. This means that media can depict an ordinary thing so negatively that it may compel people to believe or act in quite the opposite way. So it is necessary to analyze the effects of media on teenager because the influence it has on them. Media can be both helpful and harmful to teenagers. But the negative effects of Media on teenagers clearly outweigh the positive ones which is becoming a great worry for the society.

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The amount of excessive violence in media – be it the television, movies or the video games, tends to increase aggressive tendencies in teenagers. This is the major worry that the society face by media. Media violence has affected teenagers adversely by making them more violent and aggressive. In 1961, a classic study done by the psychologists Bandura et al. showed that televised violence affects normal children. They compared children who had recently seen a film showing aggression with children who had not. In response to mild frustration, the former were more likely to react aggressively . Another Research led by Anderson, Iowa State University colleague Carnagey and Eubanks of the Texas Department of Human Services in 2003 reported that, violent music lyrics increased aggressive thoughts and hostile feelings among 500 college students. Therefore, teenagers who are affected by media violence have a large probability to engage in criminal acts as adults and be more violent in nature.

Media has also created an ideal image of body shape and size, owing due to which several teenagers, particularly girls, suffer from inferiority complex and resort to unhealthy practices to reduce weight and get thin. A study conducted in 2006 titled ‘Appearance Culture in Nine- to 12-Year-Old Girls: Media and Peer Influences on Body Dissatisfaction’, indicated that “nearly half of all preadolescent girls wish to be thinner, and as a result have engaged in a diet or are aware of the concept of dieting” (Lark, Levina and Triggerman). Furthermore, in 2003, Teen magazine reported that 35 per cent of girls 6 to 12 years old have been on at least one diet, and that 50 to 70 per cent of normal weight girls believe they are overweight. Overall research indicates that 90% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance in some way. These studies further proves the point that nowadays, being thin or rather skinny is infused into our society as a trend or a fashion which is expected and is followed strictly by the members of our society, especially teenagers. Which in turn motivates people, especially teenagers to ignore all other factors, including their freewill and personal choice, eventually, loosing there actual identity and personality. Some advertisements mislead teenagers into thinking that slim is beautiful and they become easily depressed about their figures when they do not match up to the widely publicized idea of beauty. There are also other advertisements for facial, skin, hair, toning treatments that generally make people more conscious about their looks. These advertisements affect teenagers more than any other age groups because they are at a stage where acceptance by peers is critical to their self-esteem. Thus, they will go to great lengths to impress others without taking into any consideration about their health or cost.

Another effect of media is the modeling effect. This effect informs that under certain circumstances, individuals who view particular actions that are performed by another person may adopt that behavior as a part of their personal habits. According to this, teenagers end up adopting stuff that mostly harm them and can even lead to deaths. For example, a famous celebrity, in 2005, committed suicide in Taiwan. All suicides during 2003-2005 in Taiwan were deeply studied and researched. According to one of the research conducted by Cheng et al. showed that the suicide rates went up considerably in the four weeks following the death. Also the research showed that the suicides that happened in those four weeks were all mainly the same kind; they all hung themselves as the celebrity. Thus, the modeling effect can be very dangerous and mostly results in worsening the society.

The media can also be held accountable for glorifying or advertising certain issues which are bad for the teenagers or the society. For example, movies like S…. Movie that potray thieves who don’t even think a second before killing someone or extorting someone and then getting away with it, sure give amusement to people. At the same time, it encourages them to act in a way that would lead to dangerous situations and thrill in life. This way, media praises the bad aspects of people and encourages them to act in forbidden ways. Media sometime can also be blamed for moving away from the issue or topic on hand. They manipulate ordinary issue and present it negatively to the audience. Add more

Media is also sometime responsible for creating panic in the society by broadcasting fake news. This results in a great chaos and disrupts the normal and smooth functioning of the society. For example, The Great Panic of 1938, in which people, who were listening to radio play on CBS, “Mercury Theatre of the Air” believed that United States was taken over by creatures from Mars. At the time it was estimated that out of six million listeners more than one million prepared to leave their homes, or ran into the streets in panic. Ultimately, this caused a panic and fear in the society. Add more

Some people in favor of media might argue that media provides latest information to people in just a matter of minutes. They say that media reaches to every single part of the country and provide everyone with the information of what is going on in the country and keep them up to date. Media has also shared a part in enhancing the overall awareness of teenagers about their surroundings. Adding to this, the vast information resources that media offers to teenagers has also resulted in increasing overall knowledge and understanding of curriculum subjects.

However, this argument by critics can be countered easily because the information given by media is most of the time not accurate. According to the class-dominant theory, media reflects and projects the view of minority elite, who controls it. A few people have the ability to manipulate what people can see or hear. These elite have the control of what information is shared through media and what not. They avoid or omit stories which are not in favour of their aim or not in their interest. Ultimately, the information which we receive is manipulated in one another way by the elite class to serve their purpose.

Media also serves in deteriorating one’s language skills. Television shows and movies are now watched by almost every single teenager. The language used in these programs are not appropriate; most of the times foul or bad language is used. Teenagers are very badly affected when they are exposed to this crude language. Their vocabulary is restricted to mostly bad or aggressive words. In addition to this, teenagers use the words they hear in these programs without even knowing the meaning of it. Characters in the shows or movies, especially violent ones, use short or even incomplete sentences and this is what the teenager picks up and use. Nowadays, teenagers listen to music which also has some violent lyrics in it such as rap music. Teenagers who listen to this kind of music hear bad or insulting words, and this affects their own language and habits. Many young people who listen to these songs think that it is good to use the bad words and want to show off to other people by using them. Add more

Some in support of media might claim that the role of media has promoted social cause and given more awareness about issues like sex, AIDS, drugs in order to prevent it. It has created awareness about these issues so that it can be prevented. They also claim that media has promoted social cause through advertisement to improve standard of living and economic welfare.

Actually, this is not the case; media instead is responsible for glorifying unhealthy and harmful habits like smoking, drug abuse, unprotected sex. More and more people just only begin to smoke because their favourite celebrity or actor is smoking in the movies or any show. Also through movies, the use of drug or cigarettes is shown as an act of coolness, which is followed or copied by many fans and followers. In the study, published in Pediatrics, “researchers surveyed more than 1,000 public middle school students in North Carolina when they were 12 to 14 years old and again two years later when they were 14 to 16 years old.The results showed that exposure to sexual content at ages 12-14 increased the risk of early teen sex among white teenagers even after taking into account other factors known to reduce the likelihood of teen sex, such as parental disapproval of teen sex and getting good grades. In fact, each increase in grouping of sexual content through media exposure increased the risk of teen sex by 30 percent” (Brown). Add more

The amount of celebrity hype created by the media causes many teenagers to make irrational demands for designer clothing, accessories and other perks of the celebrity life that they are exposed to. Teenagers are readily exposed to new trends of fashion by media. Impressive and .. advertisements of the things in fashion urges or persuade teenagers to waste their money on these things. Furthermore, the eye capturing advertisements of different beauty products often makes teenagers allergic until they triumph in getting it. This result in wastage of money as the trends of fashion are frequently changing and a product which is newly launched becomes outdated in no time.

Can add point of promotion of unhealthy food causing harm to health.

In conclusion, the arguments put forward are evident of the fact that the media adversely affects in shaping a teenager’s life and character. The few positive effects of it are so much influenced in one another way to eventually have a negative impact on teenager. As stated earlier, media majorly influence teenager’s character building; so it is necessary to deal with the negative effects of media which it has on teenagers. Add more

Work Cited

1. Bandura, Albert, Dorothea Ross, and Sheila Ross. “TRANSMISSION OF AGGRESSION THROUGH IMITATION OF AGGRESSIVE MODELS.” Abnormal and Social Psychology 63 (1961): 575-82. Print.

2. Anderson, Craig, Nicholas Carnagey, and Janie Eubanks. “Exposure to Violent Media: The Effects of Songs With Violent Lyrics on Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings.” Personality and Social Psychology 84 (2003): 960-71. Print.

3. CliffsNotes.com. The Role and Influence of Mass Media. 26 Apr 2010


4. Lark, Levina, and Marika Tiggemann. “Appearance Culture in Nine- to 12-Year-Old Girls: Media and Peer Influences on Body Dissatisfaction.” Social Development 15.4 (2006): 628-43.Interscience.wiley.com. 30 Oct. 2006. Web. 2 May 2010.

5. Cheng, Andrew, Keith Hawton, Tony Chen, and Amy Yen. “The Influence of Media Reporting of a Celebrity Suicide on Suicidal Behavior in Patients with a History of Depressive Disorder.”Affective Disorders 103 (2007): 69-75. Print.

6. Welles, Orson, prod. “The War of the Worlds.” The Mercury Theatre on the Air. CBS. 30 Oct. 1938. Radio.

7. Brown, Jane. “Sexy Media Matter: Exposure to Sexual Content in Music, Movies, Television, and Magazines Predicts Black and White Adolescents’ Sexual Behavior.” PEDIATRICS 117.4 (2006): 1018-027. Pediatrics.aappublications.org. 4 Apr. 2006. Web. 3 May 2010.

8. Krishna, Anand. “Meditating on the Media.” Bali Times 26 Mar. 2010. Print.


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