The Media and Today’s Youth
Today, there is no escape from the flamboyant displays of sex and violence on television, in the movies, and in commercial advertising. When watching the morning news, the television floods with reports of sexual assault and murder. When waiting in line at the grocery store, it is impossible to ignore the headlines accusing wives of cheating and husbands of abuse. When driving on the highway, it is difficult to concentrate on the road with audacious billboards with half-naked women around every corner. Similarly, it seems that today’s children are becoming increasingly dependent of modern technology including cell phones, video games, and internet, making the sex and violence seen in the media more accessible than ever. So if a young girl is experimenting with sex before she has even reached puberty, or if a young boy brings a gun to elementary school, this behavior cannot be blamed on characteristics inherited at birth. Rather, it is the unavoidable truth that young people are corrupted by the constant exposure to the provocative media. Children were certainly not born with the aforementioned negative behaviors, therefore it must be a direct effect of the environment. So does this mean that people are born moral and molded into violent, promiscuous creatures? According to the ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius, humans are “inherently good” and in order to demonstrate the ability of outside forces to molest the natural good nature of humans, he compares the human heart to a barley seed. Though all seeds, like the human heart have the potential to grow just as strong and healthy as the rest, there is always the possibility that external obstacles will inhibit some from succeeding as much as others. Similarly, the philosopher Hsun Tzu explains that the environment that a person grows in will significantly affect the person he or she is soon to become. Although he contrasts the argument of Mencius in his beliefs that humans are born...
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