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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.