Original Research Proposal: Do Movies Targeted Towards Adolescents Encourage Drug Use?

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Sarah Turner
019:090:A05
April 26, 2013
At a huge party of adolescents, a boy busts open a lawn gnome and a plethora of ecstasy pills go flying as everybody scrambles to claim their “party favors”. The actions being described is not a first-hand experience, but a popular scene from the film Project X. This film in its debut was extremely successful among adolescents and young adults. There are many other recent films such as this one that base its plot on drug use, underage drinking, and casual sexual activity. With teens and young adults indulging in this form of explicit media, it makes many ultimately wonder “do movies targeted toward adolescents encourage illegal and recreational drug use” and are teens attempting to imitate the wild behaviors displayed on the silver screen?

This specific topic has raised many concerns among majority of the American population. For example, Harvard writer Charlotte M. Kreger wrote a review about the movie Project X and stated “Although the movie suffers from a bout of unbelievability, it is still a good depiction of our generation’s culture” (Kreger). The idea that raging party scenes are a “good depiction of our generation’s culture” is extremely concerning to many people. It is concerning because society has made it no secret that experimenting with illegal drugs is often the paving of a path of self-destruction. However, as teens observe this kind of act being glorified, it gives them a disinhibitory effect instead of what should be an inhibitory effect. A disinhibitory effect is defined as “seeing rewards for behavior that is usually negative makes us likely to model that behavior” (BOOK), while an inhibitory effect is defined as “seeing behaviors punished in media teachers us not to model those behaviors” (BOOK). With that said, as adolescents see drug use in films being rewarded, it makes them much more likely to model those dangerous behaviors. A certain demographic in society that has outwardly expressed...
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