How Mass Media Affects Adolescents

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We’ve all heard the expression, “Well if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?” from our parents, or other adult figure-type person. In today’s society, adolescents seem to be taking this phrase to a new level. As the media continues to abuse the popularity of the too-thin actors and actresses, exploit famous persons’ suicides, and portray ‘problems’ in general as being ‘cool’ with TV shows focused on rehab circles featuring those popular people our culture knows and loves, more and more young people are finding reasons to copycat these problematic ‘role models’, resulting in a crisis within the youth. The depression, low self esteem, eating disorder, and suicide rate disaster within the youth can all be traced back to the media, which tends to glamorize such problems, so that they appeal to adolescents as being the next ‘in’ thing.

Suicide is a tremendous issue that is heavily influenced by the media. Yourannual List of Ins and Outs, an article which periodically lists tends and fads, listed one year suicide as an “in”. (“The ‘In’ Way to Look for Help”, 1) Most emotionally secure people would understand that the listing of suicide as an “in” was a joke and not take it seriously – but mental health practitioners like David Shaffer of Columbia University of Physicians and Surgeons, have done research to prove that the “adolescent suicide rate may rise when the media glamorize suicide”. (“The ‘In’ Way to Look for Help”, 1) Suicide is a serious issue, and although this was meant as a joke, there are some children who actually take things like the previously mentioned article literally. Although such people/youth may be emotionally unstable already, this bit of “pressure” from society adds to the imbalance. The media has also taken advantage of the celebrities who have killed themselves, making them seem “chic”, or “cool”. Exploitation of such events gives some less stable individuals the impression that these sort of actions are socially...
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