When realizing the average person in America sees approximately 40,000 ads in magazines, billboards, and television each year, it is obvious that media causes teens to be dissatisfied with their bodies, aggressive and accepting of drugs and sex at an early age! Typical Advertisements in today’s society spotlight skinny models that look nothing like the average woman. Media targeting teens stress the idea that the ideal women must be skinny and the ideal man is not only physically fit but muscular as well. To do this they portray models as the “average” person. The average height and weight for a model is 5'10" and 110 lbs, whereas the height and weight for the average woman is 5'4" and 145 lbs. The fact that models generally weight 23% less then the average woman should not be overlooked. This creates massive health risks for impressionable teens; girls especially. Along with the impact of physical health, mental health is also tremendously influenced. Girls who viewed commercials depicting women who modeled the unrealistically slender type of prettiness caused adolescent girls to feel less secure, irritated and more displeased with their weight and appearance (Hargreaves, 2002). The media not only negatively impacts teens self image, it also impacts their behavior. Many psychologists agree that the more violence observed the more tolerant children are of violence. The amount of inappropriate violence in media boosts and promotes hostile tendencies in many teenagers; especially in teen boys. Hollywood icons such as Little Wayne claim bragging rights to the number of times they have been shot yet they are glorified and plastered on teen channel hot spots such as MTV and VH1. Although many don’t understand how doing something as simple as watching a movie could mold a teens mind it is proven that it does. There have been reported reenactments of actions in movies where teenagers resemble victims in slasher movies by mutilating corpses. Popular movies portray action movies as those including death such as Rambo 3. This movie alone shows approximately 106 deaths! (Bennet, 2006) Video games are another form of the media that promotes violence. The major concept in most teen rated video games is to beat an opponent by knocking him out. In some video games you might even kill your opponent; games like this brainwash teens into believing that violence is an adequate way to win.
Media such as television and magazines cause many to become immune to bad habits such as cursing, drugs and alcohol. For many teens, Hollywood stars such as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and ….. are their role models. When constantly exposed to their shows and daily life they began to justify their actions with those of their favorite Hollywood role model. If a child was constantly around someone who cursed, more than likely they would develop this bad habit as well. The same rule applies to a teen who constantly hears about the rebellious actions of the stars in the lime light. They may not agree with all the the things the stars do but because they see them on a day to day basis teenagers become immune to the fact that they are forming habits based off these people.
Along with the change in a teens habit morals are also greatly affected. A study done by the RAND Corporation revealed that teens are twice as likely to have sex or engage in sexual activities if they see similar sexual behavior in the media. Reality TV, the most common watched among teens, depict the "cool kids" as those who are having sex. (Palo Alto Medical Foundation, 2007) Magazines such as the Cosmopolitan also promote the idea that sex is okay for young teens as well as adults.
At first glance it may not seem that one certain type of the media influences teens in a negative way. But when analyzing each type it is obvious that the media does cause many teens to be dissatisfied with their bodies, aggressive and accepting of drugs and sex at an early age!