The Impact of the Media on Teenagers
Ashley J. Sanchez-Menjivar
Friday, December 14, 2012.
Many adolescent teens are exposed to numerous encounters with the media that have a negative impact on their judgments, actions, and opinions. This is referring to the video games, movies, television shows, and magazines that surround them everyday. We begin to discover how it effects their decisions and behaviors. 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 outside presences become stronger and more important in the lives of the young. Appearance
Most teens search for guidance, not from their parents but from a celebrity, pop star, or actor. These people may only be a role model for a short period of time simply because the teenager has a slight interest in they’re work or could even be as capricious as they released a new album that month. Some examples are make-up ads, “hot or not” articles, and even some television programs such as the Bachelorette create this false image of perfection that teenagers aspire to be like. This specifically targets their expectations, priorities and self-esteem. Teen girls initiate this mindset where they overanalyze every situation. The way they dress, the amount of makeup they put on, and even how they judge the appearance of the people around them including their friends. In a recent interview with Notre Dame Secondary School’s Child Youth Worker, Mrs. Kennedy states, “they strive to be what they see in magazines and on the news. It really begins to hurt and damage their self esteem” (Kennedy). With so many years of experience with the youth, Mrs. Kennedy’s very capable of describing how teenagers feel through various situations and why. She talks with teens everyday that go through self-esteem and family issues and agrees that the media, “especially the social media” (Kennedy), greatly affects the way teenagers view and judge themselves. “Some movie ads can be very offensive to not only women but also men. Most stereotypes also developed from movies and television shows.” (Williams) Teenagers may not be physically forced to hide who they truly are but are frightened enough to choose to mask themselves.
When high school student Matthew Smith was asked his opinion on the growing population of homosexual teens, he stated, “everyone now is more accepting to your sexuality than they would have been say 10..15 years ago. Media has really helped it along.” (Smith) Two other high school students had similar beliefs when it came to the openness teenagers are being given with their sexual preferences. This is one example of a positive influence the media has on the way teenagers can express themselves. They encourage teens to be “comfortable in their own skins” and to not be ashamed of their natural instincts. Some illustrations are the television show 1 Girl 5 Gays, the Gay Pride Parade, and even the numerous Gay/Lesbian support groups funded by some celebrities. Both teenage boys and girls are less ashamed of who they choose to have an interest in, in today’s society. In the latest survey conducted by Ashley Sanchez, 54% agreed that teenagers could be open with their sexuality. (Figure 1) Even if 46% disagreed, the good outweighs the bad. Over time, teens are becoming more and more focused on the useless things instead of the bigger picture. Their priorities have changed drastically. Media advertisements emphasize that in order to be considered what we classify as “cool” or “hip” we must own the latest gear or wear the newest line of clothing. In addition to this, many teens only follow what is socially acceptable. If it is not in the latest teen magazine it’s considered “totally last year” and will be shunned if worn.
In a recent survey 44% agreed, and 24%...
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