Example Of The Influence of Media on Teenagers Admission Essay

Published: 2021-06-18 05:09:52
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Category: Psychology, Teenagers, Media, Responsibility, Cinema, Movies, Death, Behavior

Type of paper: Essay

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An issue of great importance to me is how media and its current portrayal of teenagers affects them. Issues like alcohol consumption, drug use, bullying, teenage pregnancy, violence, gangs, etc. are frequently shown on the airwaves, and often even on programs aimed at teenagers. Frequently, it even seems to be glamorized (as in many video games, such as the Grand Theft Auto series). This leads to a perception of these behaviors as “normal” and abstaining from them, by default, “abnormal”. This leads to peer pressure and pressure from society for teenagers (and others) to partake in such activities.

This could have major negative effects for society at large. Certainly, there are organizations and programs that aim to combat this attitude, such as M.A.D.D. or D.A.R.E., but young people unquestionably have more exposure to television, video games, and the Internet than the few hours and at most a week that they encounter information to the contrary.
Of course, I know no one is perfect, and I have not been immune to these pressures from the media and, by extension, peers. But I have experienced firsthand the tragedy that can be caused by these behaviors, and it has made an impact on my life forever. One of my very best friends, Robert, was killed in a car accident after he and 3 other boys were driving back from a party called Bob Marley Fest. They were really cool guys. They were also drunk and high. They just wanted to have fun and party like in the movie Superbad. Of course, in the movie, nobody died and there were few consequences for the characters due to their actions. This event showed me the consequences firsthand. Then in ninth grade, I knew a group of kids who beat a man to death with his young son watching because they were drunk and taking prescription drugs while driving. A man outside with his little boy yelled at them to slow down in the neighborhood. They turned around and went back and beat him to death in front of his son. I have also experienced a tragedy involving a classmate shooting another boy to death in a fight over a girl at a party. The boy killed was only 14. They were drinking and doing drugs, acting like they were in a movie. On top of all these other experiences, another acquaintance, my sister’s former boyfriend, was involved in beating another student to death with a baseball bat in only his first few weeks as a Freshman in college. He doesn’t recall exactly what happened now, because he was so impaired at the time. He's in prison now. All of these incidents affected me and those around me.  I am from a middle class suburb, considered a nice, "normal" town. Not a place you would expect to find tragedies with this frequency.

So the problem is clear. Now what is the answer? I believe that the media needs to take more social responsibility when depicting these behaviors and show their potential consequences more clearly. I also believe they need to stop sensationalizing real stories of teen and adult celebrities behaving badly (Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears all come to mind as classic examples), and also take more responsibility for the content of reality shows which sensationalize such behavior (like 16 & Pregnant or Jersey Shore). They also need to take more responsibility for movies that glorify this behavior (such as Project X or Superbad).  It has to stop being about the ratings, i.e. money, and be about what is best on an individual level, as well as a societal level. Doesn't media have a responsibility to society? Of course it does. If the media wants our adulation, it should have to earn it responsibly, not just through gimmicks like these.

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