Effects of Media on Adolescence

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Adolescence is a time in a young adult’s life where they are going through many changes physically, emotionally, and developmentally. Adolescence is defined as ages 11 through 19, and can be confusing for teens as they mature into adults. The physical changes during this period include growing, gaining weight, and sexually maturing. These changes often create identity issues amongst teens because they are so vulnerable at this time. This vulnerability makes it very easy for adolescents to be manipulated by media sources such as magazines, television, movies, and music. Adolescent females witness many things in the media such as underweight models, provocative clothing, and inappropriate behavior. The images shown by these media sources can create many different self-esteem and body image issues amongst adolescents.

Adolescence is a crucial time in a person’s life because there are significant changes in the brain. The Limbic Brain matures and is involved with memory, along with emotional and sexual behaviors. The pre-frontal cortex becomes better at making choices and decisions, as well as foreseeing future events. Due to this change, younger adolescents (for example an 11 year old girl), would not be able to make an educated decision the way a 25 year old woman would. This is significant because this vulnerable girl may not know how to respond appropriately to things she sees in the media.

A prominent example of this is the rising number of eating disorders found in adolescents today. Adolescent females, especially, view underweight, “beautiful” models everywhere they go, often unaware that these images have gone through hours of retouching and photoshop before being displayed to the public. These images often weaken the adolescent’s self-esteem and body image. Websites have been found online encouraging young girls to starve themselves or to throw up after meals in order to create the “perfect body”. Also, in 2003, a study was conducted to see the...
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