Media and Its Negative Effects on Adolescents
The rise of technology use has made media's dissemination and access to information cheap and less time-consuming. The trust and preference of information relayed on several media have been highly enhanced because of information reliability (Lambe and Perse 10). Media continues to influence politics and voting, the usage of services and commodities, the effects of non-credible news and ideologies, and the effects of general societal behaviors (Lambe and Perse 15). The participation of media in airing campaign forums, content, and views on one political party or individual alters the preferences of voters as they incline themselves to such candidates who are highlighted by the station. Family programs touching on marriage continue to impact the society positively on how to handle marriage and family issues (Lambe and Perse 20). Also, media informs and warns about weather developments so as to protect and prevent travelers from taking their trips on a stormy day to limit the occurrence of accidents and inconveniences (Lambe and Perse 21).
On the other side, the procurement, purchase, and consumption of some commodities and services are based mostly on the advertisements and promotions run by media in regard to those products. Media continues to impact and shape consumption patterns of several consumers (Lambe and Perse 45). Without proper enlightenment of the society on how to identify credible news and fake news, media can spark violence and disagreements on the circulation of fake and malicious updates that put societal harmony in jeopardy (Lambe and Perse 67).
The airing and viewing of sexual content continue to influence the society negatively as it leads and contributes to sexual crimes, infidelity and unfaithfulness in marriages globally (Lambe and Perse 68). Additionally, young teens are also largely affected by the media contents they access. Teens are affected physically, emotionally, sexually and academically because of the use and consumption of media content (Jordan, Strasburger and Donnerstein 3). Teenagers watch television, browse online, and play video games among other mediums available at their disposal. The time they spend in watching prevents them from engaging in physical activities, and this affects h (Jordan, Strasburger and Donnerstein 6). Moreover, the content that teenagers watch contains explicit information, and this prompts them to engage in such acts. The participation in such activities also consumes study time, and this adversely affects teenagers academically, leading to poor performance in their studies (Jordan, Strasburger and Donnerstein 10).
Impressions in media matter significantly. It is why media owners, content owners, and the presenters of such content adapt to competitive looks so as to attract viewership and content consumers. These advertising standards have changed over the years because of changes in fashion, perceptions, the demands of the market, and the existing trends. It has led media owners to resort to explicit content because they know societal triggers that create influence, and increase content viewership and usage by the audience (Gunter and Wykes 67).
Body size and appearance matter a lot when it comes to advertisements and marketing in media. It is noticeable that currently, the most acceptable body size keeps getting smaller every time (Gunter and Wykes 68). The move has seen the increase in the probability of audience paying attention to the adverts and making decisions based on the products and services being advertised (Gunter and Wykes 69).
The female gender is mostly affected by media because women are known to be higher commodity consumers compared to men. It explains why they easily adapt to trendy hairstyles, outfits. Even so, this has exposed the female gender to morals risks because they may end up emulating many of the practices and mannerisms that are socially unacceptable (Milkie 190). Media keeps impacts and shapes the actions of women in response to the suggestions made by media. As they work out to achieve these body sizes, this requires heavy investments, change of diet, and dressing code. These changes in diet affect the female gender to a great extent, including their lifestyle and their health (Milkie 195).
The effects of media on the societal behaviors and morals have become unbearable and almost difficult to tackle. In the past, it was easier to tackle such challenges as parents had a lot of restrictions on the use of media and its contents (Gunter 23). Currently, with the prevalent and explosive use of technology, for instance, the need for teens and adolescents to possess cell phones and computers for academic purposes contributes to the over-use of media and the consumption of its contents. The presence of tools of access to media to the teens and adolescents elevates the degradation of morals and the consumption of wrong contents of information. A challenge to this issue is that it is difficult to regulate the contents that they access (Gunter 34). Media and content providers have always tried their best to censor their contents. Additionally, parents have also tried to regulate media usage by their children, but because of the vastness of the issue, parents have, both in the past and currently, resorted to counseling to curb the challenge (Gunter 200). Currently, parents are more enlightened to tackle the challenges of media effects to adolescents by ensuring that they limit media content exposure to the children and recommending other educative sites that they can access. Parents liaise with babysitters, neighbors, and grandparents to ensure that their content suggestions are upheld (Gunter 203).
The explosive use of technology, the emerging trends and the changes in societal needs, especially among the youth have made it difficult to separate them from media. The mandatory use of the internet tools for educational purposes, the watching of television content, and the playing of video games have all become rampant activities among the adolescents globally (Susan 394). As information has become a vital necessity in everyday life, banning or putting sanctions on media will vastly affect other areas of life. Additionally, censorship of content is not the best measure to prevent young people from accessing explicit content through search engines. As such, tackling the issues of media and the negative effects is still a major problem around the world (Susan 396).
The value of information is embedded in its proper usage to solve problems. On the contrary, improper use of media degrades the value of information. One of these problems is that media indirectly contributes to mental health problems among teenagers (Ramsden 2). In the past, in the stage of adolescence, boys and girls would get guidance from parents, relatives, older siblings for smooth transitions into young adulthood (Ramsden 3). With the advent of social media, teens get access to information and how to navigate through the stage by themselves. For instance, girls may naively post personal information because of lack of self-esteem, and this sometimes causes severe psychological damage (Ramsden 5). The use of social media as a way to enhance self-esteem causes depression (Ramsden 7). For instance, body size and appearance have been given much emphasis by media. The conformity of the media personalities, celebrities, and models to these trends in terms of body size and fashion trends continue to impact teenagers who look up to such personalities. For them to appear as they do, they alter their eating habits and diets (Ramsden 9). Such a shift by children results to harm in health, both physically and mentally, contributing to body dysmorphic disorders and anorexia. (Ramsden 10). Improper professional standards and a lack of the knowledge on the morals treasured by the society, has led media to continue displaying content even when they are in the wrong.
There are institutions in place, given authority by the government to provide balances and checks to media houses and the content that they transmit, but this activity has not been successful due to corruption and lack full implementation of the law (Steinberg 2). It depicts a society that is not functioning a good state morally (Steinberg 5).
For instance, in Instagram, a photo sharing engine, one finds all sorts of photos shared in the site by users. There is no policy that restricts the sharing of explicit pictures. These barbaric standards contribute to the degradation of morals and misuse of media. Even with all these aspects, Media has transformed the way people live (Qualman 120). Media keeps on shaping people's thoughts, government policies, and the influence on societal economic, physical, and social needs. For these reasons, they play a major role in daily lives despite the prevailing negative effects.
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Susan Villani. "Impact of Media on Children and Adolescents: A 10-Year Review of the Research." Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (2001): 390-402.
Milkie, Mellissa A. "Social Comparisons, Reflected Appraisals, Mass Media: The Impact of Pervasive Beauty Images on Black and White Girls' Self- Concepts." Social Psychology Quarterly (1999): 190-198.
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Ramsden, Pam. "Is Social Media to Blame for the Worsening Mental Health of Teenage Girls?" The Conversation (2016): 2-10.
Steinberg, Laurence. "We Know Some Things: Parent-Adolescent Relationships in Retrospect and Prospect." Journal of Research on Adolescence (2001): 2-17.
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