The Effects of Mass Media on Youths

Topics: Mass media, Adolescence, Publishing Pages: 6 (1752 words) Published: July 16, 2014
The Effects of Mass Media on Youths

The concept of adolescence was presented near the end of the nineteenth century and characteristics were attributed to male youths where the adolescents were depicted as "passive and vulnerable". This label, or stereotype, has greatly changed. Nowadays, young boys face varying forms of stereotypes that lead to judgments that were unimaginable in the past century. The mass media has greatly influenced these stereotypes, so it has contributed to creating an increasingly judgmental society, which forces young boys to adapt in order to fit the accepted norm.

It is no mystery that society has become increasingly judgmental. In the words of the teen singer and actress, Ariana Grande, "Sometimes, people can be extraordinarily judgmental and closed-minded to anyone different or special, which is why it's so hard for young people in this day and age to be comfortable enough in their own skin to not listen to the people picking on them." This is something that I, for one, have experienced first hand not only in the environment I am currently in, but also around the world. People are highly judgmental and take seconds to form a prejudice about a person after a brief encounter. This is a fact that reflects how "broken" societal values truly are. In order to judge a person, he who is judging must know many things in order to determine if he or she is "fit." When it comes to children, these prejudices can truly affect their development. A clear example of this is Walker's son in her essay "_Putting Down the Gun"._ This boy was a sweet kid who was not a gamer nor a jock. He felt out of place because of this and asked his mother if he should try to become either one in order to be attractive to girls. Stereotypes are shown to lead to judgment, since boys become prejudiced toward certain roles that they must adhere to in order to feel accepted that lead them to make unnatural changes and choices.

Understanding why society has become increasingly judgmental, leads to uncovering the underlying cause. Who would benefit most from these stereotypes that lead to prejudice? One element comes to mind: mass media. The mass media is the machine that conglomerates around the world wield in order to beat consumers into submission. In the case of Walker's son, he was faced with two prefabricated consumer centered options. If he inclined towards gaming, he would spend thousands of dollars on consoles and games. Nevertheless, if the choice was becoming a jock, this would entail thousands of dollars of investment in equipment and lessons.

Furthermore, there are repeated instances where mass media is responsible for changing society's view on men based on the promotion of certain consumer goods; such is the case of Paul Theroux's "_Being a Man"_. In this essay, Theroux states how Marlboro managed to change society's opinion of cigarettes. Before this mass media maneuver, cigarettes were thought of as a woman's item. With the publicity that presented the picture of Clarence Hailey Young, Marlboro managed to convince the public that rugged men also smoked cigarettes. Instantly, the stereotype on cigarettes changed. Before Marlboro's publicity, a man that smoked would have been considered feminine. After Clarence Hailey Young, cigarette smoking was viewed as a masculine and rugged habit.

On the whole, mass media is made up of internet, video games, music, television, newspapers, magazines, and other means of reaching large audiences. Social media, though technically not considered mass media by many experts, is a way of communicating with others on a global scale that has grown exponentially. Many would argue that mass media is not necessarily negative. Nevertheless, a study by Pediatric Child Health, performed over a decade ago, takes into consideration the positive and negative aspects of mass media. Though not all television programs are harmful, this study shows that it has negative effects on youths such...

Cited:, 09 Jan. 2012. Web. 04 May 2014.
"English Class (IVC)." Paul Theroux 's "On Being a Man" Blogger, 16 Feb. 2014. Web.
Richards, Melanie Burleson, "Mass Media 's Relationship with Adolescents ' Values and
Behaviors: A Theory of Mediated Valueflection" (2010)
Santrock, John W. "The Historical Perspective." Adolescence. 12th ed. N.p.: McGraw
Hill, 2008
Walker, Rebecca. What Makes a Man: 22 Writers Imagine the Future. New York:
Riverhead, 2004
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