Influence of Mass Media on Youth

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In the last 50 years, media influence has grown rapidly with an advance in technology. First there was the radio, then the newspapers, magazines, television and now the internet. Today, we all live in a media-dominated world. Media is a way for the members of the society to keep themselves informed about what is happening around them. It is also the major source of entertainment. By creating an image appealing to the youth, media controls the variety of material youth incorporate in their daily lives. Their images, which mostly consist of sexuality, violence, coarse language and revealing clothing, have a negative impact on the youth. Media should be forbidden from advertising and telecasting shows pertaining to violence, sex and unhealthy living because it plays an important role in shaping the opinions of the younger generation. Media violence has lead to increased rates of youth violence. Exposure to violence in the movies, video games and music videos increases the likelihood of physical and verbal aggressive and violent behaviour, thoughts and emotions in youth. Researchers have examined various communities before and after the introduction of television, to find a link between violence and real-life aggression. They found that after the television had been introduced, the incidents of fists fights and black eyes among the youth had increased significantly. Several days after an episode of Happy Days (a television show during 1970s) was aired, in which one character joined a gang called the Red Demons, children in the community created rival gangs, called the Red Demons and

the Green Demons and the conflict between the two seriously disrupted the local school. Media violence desensitizes people to real violence. A number of studies show that children/youngsters who are constantly exposed to media violence tend to be less disturbed when they witness real world violence and have less sympathy for their victims. A 2001 review of the 70 top-selling video games found that 89 percent contained some kind of violence, and researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine reported in 2006 that brain scans of kids who played a violent video game showed an increase in emotional arousal and a corresponding decrease of activity in brain areas involved in self-control, inhibition and attention. Today, we see many incidents of children carrying guns to school and hurting/killing others. One such incident is, in 2001, in Santee, CA, a 15 year old boy shot 2 teenagers and injured 13 others at his high school because he was tired of being taunted for being too skinny. These are all the outcomes of the negative influence of media violence. Hence, parents should interest their children with something much more productive and exciting to do. It is important for children and youth to be given proper support in dealing with issues of violence. If not, they could end up like one of the thousands of criminals who are sent to prisons. It is important for today’s generation to be educated about violence. Mass media can have a negative effect on youth, but with the support and control of parents, it can be turned into a beneficial tool.

Media influences youth sexuality. Sexual content in the electronic media such as movies and television strongly associates with negative youth behaviours that result in teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS. The American Psychological Association estimates that an average young television viewer watches about 14000 references to sex each year. Out of the 14000 references, only some of them (around 200) will include reference to self-denial of sex, birth control, risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). According to the youth, movies and other media are some of their leading sources of information about sex and sexuality. But they don’t...
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