The Effect of Media on Teenagers - It's a Double-edged Sword

Media's effects on teenagers
Teens often watch commercials, that plant seeds of thought into their minds about what they have to buy and use, as opposed to what they actually need. It creates images that are superficial, as the ultimate goal to find lasting satisfaction. This often leads to health problems like bulimia/anorexia. Fashion magazines are also to blame for their glossy covers showcasing models with so-called "perfect" bodies that teens idolize and work towards, while compromising on health.
Teenagers today depend on the media for information on everything; the latest gadgets, the latest fashion trends, the newest cars in the market, the best places around the country to eat out at, or to find out what their favorite celebrity is up to. Media's effects on teenagers are far-reaching. It almost controls their minds like a giant remote control. While it does have its share of pros, parents still need to approach this mammoth beast with caution.
Negative Influence of Media
Kill them! Kill them all!!! Growth of violent tendencies
Studies have shown that certain groups of teenagers are prone to act out violently/ aggressively because of media influences. They fall under categories like, sexually-abused victims, those who are going through family problems (like separation / constant fighting / divorce), immigrants / minorities, and those with disabilities / mental instability. Without supervision - sexual screenings, violent acts (gore movies / rape / murder / suicide / questionable video games), profanity and the likes can bring on a hostile nature, with a violent streak.
Distraction from academics
Watching too much television and other forms of visual media takes kids/teens further away from schoolwork and homework, crippling them academically.
Risk of obesity
Kids / teens who while away time watching television are at a higher risk of developing obesity, seeing that inactivity is a major factor when slumped in front of the idiot box.
Early sexual exposure. There is no need for the big talk. I've seen all of it on TV.
Kids / teens have a distorted idea of what sex is all about (the media portrays it as natural and normal to indulge in without a thought about the consequences), therefore enacting what they see and often getting caught up with teen pregnancies and contracting sexually-transmitted diseases. The Internet doesn't have a secure connection to stop them from viewing porn, therefore kids / teens who unintentionally log online for other purposes, will come across these accidentally and will in most cases develop a habit to go back to that portal. This in turn can push them into being sexually active at an early age, and making them disrespectful towards the idea of commitment when viewing such footage.
Promotion of drugs, smoking, and alcohol
Advertising and movies propel the idea of bad habits being "cool", with teenagers picking up their first cigarette as early as 14-15 years of age. Even the use of drugs and alcohol are creeping in at an early age. The influence is heavy when it comes to music videos, explicit movies (those rated for adults only), advertising and TV shows.
The Positive Effects of Media
Better access to educational material
Studies have shown that kids / teens who have computers in their rooms, did academically well seeing that the Internet served as a way to keep them interested in assignments, projects and homework.
Knowledge through TV
Television can be an educational tool if used wisely and when supervised by parents. Educational shows are constantly streaming on the television, where kids and young adults can learn a lot from them. Even talk shows like Dr. Oz and Oprah can help kids learn about in-depth issues that parents may not have knowledge about.
Risk-free social interaction
Social networking sites give teens a platform to interact with friends and connect with others in a risk-free setting, although that shouldn't allow Internet time to be so flexible.
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Keeping reading skills alive
Print media is a good way of being well-informed about what goes on around the world, where it can develop a teen's reading skills as well, seeing that it is a dying habit among the young.
The media can be used as a weapon or as a stepping stone depending on how one views it. Teens need to be sat down with by their parents where discussions on these vital outlets is necessary. If parents need to be assured that their children won't turn out to be disturbed individuals, depressed, obsessed with an idea or mentally deteriorating while suffering academically, then it is important that the relationship between the two is strong.
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