Effects of Media on Youth

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Nearly every adolescent growing up in the United States is subjected to numerous encounters with the media every day. American adolescents on an average watch television for at least two hours a day, and listen to music for about four hours a day. Seventy percent of all CD sales are sold to the adolescent demographic ages 12-20. Teenagers watch more movies then any other age grouping, and more then 4 million adolescent girls have monthly subscriptions to magazines like YM, and Seventeen. After adding internet usages, newspapers, videos, and books, the sum adds up to media being a significant part of the adolescent experience.

Recently there has been a debate on the effects of mass media on the youth of the United States. This refers back to the nurture verses nature theory sociologists have been disputing for years. Does what our children watch, hear or read on television, radio, video games, newspapers, magazines, and the internet really influence their choices and behaviors? Or more importantly are those behaviors learned strictly through the teaching and guidance of parents, teachers, and care givers?

The answer lies here. Adolescence is a time when young people are identifying important aspects of socialization like employment, gender rolls, and the development of morals, values, and beliefs. However it is also a time when family influence and ties become weaker and other outside presences become stronger and more important in the lives of the young. This is a transition stage before the importance of long term employment or marriage has become significant. This conversion allows most adolescence a chance to search for an outside governing source. Most youths look for guidance and mentoring from celebrities they see on TV, pop stars on MTV, politician they read about in the newspaper, or their favorite rap artist.

Adolescents learn gender rolls about how females and males should act, what kind of job to search for in the job force, physical...
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