Everyday, many teens and children participate in very risky behaviors. They may participate in substance abuse, unprotected sex, and even extreme acts of violence. The media, for many years, has been thought, by many, to be a major contributor to these behaviors. Young people are exposed to movies, music, television, and video games, many, portraying these negative behaviors as expectable ways of living in society. On average, teens and young children devote about 40 hours each week to some type of media. The media today contains a lot of violent, substance use, or sexually related material.
Therefore the purpose of the research is to find correlation between this behavior and the media and the significance of the said correlation. Children and teens learn much about the world through the media and even through real events occurring in real life. Therefore we can say that aggression among teens is increased after being exposed to violent or sexually based media. These children learn when it is appropriate to behave a certain way and the consequences for their actions. Upon seeing an event whether depicted in the media or in real life, the person viewing is affected.
The media can influence how someone deals with their issues throughout their daily lives. Nowadays schoolyard fistfights often are ending in gunshots. In recent years, a large number of school shootings have taken place in West Paducah, KY; Jonesboro, AR; Littleton, CO; and Bethel, Alaska, to name a few. These crimes have affected the lives of many students, parents, law enforcers, and teachers; not only in that respective town but nation wide. For many years an increase in teen pregnancies and the spread of STI’s has been a concern for parents and doctors.
Throughout the last decade, the average age for sexually active teens has dropped. According to plannedparenthood. org, one in every four young teens engages in oral sex and by graduation 2/3, teens will have had sex. Most young people are not in long-term relationships and tend to have multiple sexual partners. These multiple partners obviously lead to increased sexual activity, and the 19 million new cases of STI’s in the United States. Substance abuse amongst teens has been an ongoing problem for many years.
According to the University of Michigan Monitoring the Future Survey conducted in 2006, 48% percent of all 12th graders have taken an illegal drug in their lifetime and 36. 5% have taken an illegal substance in the past year. Although these numbers have decreased over the past ten years since the study in 1997, in which 54. 3% used lifetime and 42. 4% during that year, theses numbers are still significantly high. Good body image is a very important to most teens. Many teens today dream of one day becoming a professional athlete or even becoming an entertainer.
A lot of professional athletes have been taking steroids to improve their chances to excel in their respective sport. This leads to teens using steroids and dieting pills or even to eating disorders. Background of Study: Many scapegoat the media for this negative behavior expressed by teens. Sex and substance abuse are often the themes for TV shows and movies that young children have access to. Many singers and rappers praise drug abuse, rape, and having sex with multiple women. In many movies such as the American Pie series staying a virgin is looked down upon, especially in regards to the male characters.
Having sex with many women, and having sex intoxicated are encouraged and after seeing films like this young teen boys may tend to push their girl friend into having sex with them even when neither are responsible enough to deal with the consequences of doing so. A high percentage of teens use both legal and illegal substances. According to the University of Michigan Monitoring the Future Survey conducted in 2006, alcohol use over the month prior to the study showed 30% of 12th graders had been “drunk” at least once, cigarette smoking among seniors in high school has been on a decline in recent years, however 12. % smoke daily and 21. 6 have smoked in the previous month, and 42. 3% of 12th graders had smoked marijuana at least once by 2006.
Around prom season a lot of teens go out partying and drinking and can end up with sexual assault charges. With rising peer pressures, these young children see these sexual and self endangering behaviors as a social norm and feel it is acceptable to imitate them. In today’s media, celebrities are often depicted as sexual objects. Teens make up a large amount of all music and movie purchases and can be influenced easily.
Many of the songs and movies about drugs or alcohol are targeted towards teens. Many movies involving teen drinking or drug use, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, American Pie, Euro Trip, and Old School. A lot of famous singers or rappers talk about substance abuse in their songs such as Eminem, Fifty Cent, and Jay-Z, all of which have had their records go platinum. A large percentage of videos on MTV contain drug and alcohol references and also depict violent images, such as domestic violence and gun carrying/shooting.
Although young teens are not suppose be able to buy certain music or movies because of laws regarding age to purchase based on the ratings, there are many ways around the ratings system. Many stores don’t check for ID of those they are selling to and plus young teens can always find an older brother or friend to buy it for them. At such an age with their mind still developing, teens might not think twice about their actions. Video games have become a modern form of entertainment for all ages. The first video games were manufactured in the late 1970’s and were relatively not violent.
However, in recent years more and more games have been developed in which the main goal is to shoot and kill in order to win. Since the graphics of games have drastically improved in recent years the characters resemble humans, such as police officers, and even have humanistic emotions and reactions. About two-thirds of 7th to 12th graders have played the popular videogame Grand Theft Auto.
A teen shooter in Fayette, AL attacked police and killed three officers afterwards said “life is like a video game, everyone has to die. A brother to one of the officers questions why violent games are even manufactured. He says, “why would you even want to market video games that give people the thought that it is okay to shoot police officers. ” in another situation the Columbine killers in Littleton, CO. had created a special version of the video game Doom, in which they had extra weapons, unlimited ammunition, two shooters, and victims who couldn’t fight back; this special version was very similar to their actual attack on their school.
A lot of young people that view this violent media may develop thoughts that the world is a bad place. These teens may feel the need to carry firearms for protection and in certain situations their emotions can run high often leading to a total disaster. Present day, gun violence is he leading killer of children and teens. Harvard violence expert, Dr. Deborah Prithro-Stith suggests media violence “tells us, violence is an everyday occurrence, a justified way of self-defense. Young teen boys often idolize characters from television shows or movies that they have seen.
A lot of characters use violence to solve problems. In TV shows and movies even “good” characters use violence to solve conflicts such as Spider Man and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Teens can become very confused about violence being an acceptable reaction to behaviors of others around them. The young teens may be influenced greatly and feel that violence honorable and necessary to solve conflicts. They may feel that they need to stay tough and fight when they have problems. Retired Lt. Col. David Grossman wrote the book On Killing.
He had studied how ton enable soldiers to kill for many years and in his book claims that techniques used by the army are used in many of today’s violent video games. After playing a first person shooter video game, a child may not realize the consequences of real actions he or she might take because there are no consequences for violent behavior depicted by characters in the games. Violent media depicts the world as a hostile place and over-exposure can potentially cause a person to react differently in society.
If someone learns to expect aggressive behavior from others and even if it is unjustified they too will present themselves with more aggressive behavior. Overall the persons personality will become more aggressive, leading them to become more antisocial because of fear of others or because others don’t wish to interact with them. These overly-exposed persons eventually only interact with other overly exposed children whom reinforce thoughts brought by the media that influences the child. Most teens care about body image and how they are perceived. These teens look in the media for answers to how they should look and act.
Teen boys especially idolize these athletes and therefore steroid use has become a problem for many teenagers. Even if these teens don’t want to do sports the fitness of these athletes can be idealized. Young boys want to look attractive, big and strong, and therefore may take steroids without considering the consequences. Some of the many health hazards of steroids are shrunken testicles, liver or kidney tumors, acne, development of breasts, etc. Young girls also want to look attractive, most may not take steroids but they still do idolize celebrities.
Many young girls form eating disorders such as anorexia. They tend to idolize all the models they see in magazines and feel that boys will like them more if they were thinner. These girls form poor self image and become obsessed with gaining weight to the point where they won’t eat. These girls think they are fat yet they are actually dangerously below proper weight. Significance of Study: Nowadays many families tend to be separated more often because of high divorce rates, and even with married couples both parents tend to work and the child/children stay at home by themselves all day.
Most neighbors don’t become friendly with each other because of busy schedules so there tends to be no connection between children and society. Most children don’t have a positive influence constantly guiding them. Not being over-watched at a young age or not having the feeling that people care about them can cause a child to become destructive to society as well as to oneself. Especially in more urban areas teens and children can become gang affiliated and young ladies can begin prostituting. In school kids may become antisocial and possible become suicidal.
Suicidal thoughts when combined with vengefulness can definitely cause a young teen to react carelessly and go on a shooting rampage. Many times when troubled teens come into schools with weapons ready to attack it ends in bloodshed, often in large amounts. This can be stopped even as the situation is unraveling. Most students are taught to run and hide from the shooters, and the police are called. However, if some students or faculty members approach the gunman and attempt to disarm him many more lives will be saved. It is impossible to expect that police can arrive at the scene and locate the shooter instantly.
Students need to be taught to fight back in these situations. For example during the 9/11 attacks the passengers fought back against the hijackers. Even though, they all heroically lost their lives the death toll for that day could have been drastically higher. Many victims of school shootings have taken cases to court against various companies in the media industries. In all these cases the courts have come to the same conclusion; to go from witnessing a shooting in a movie or shooting someone in video game, and then go and shoot real people is too much of an extreme to hold the media accountable.
Millions of people partake in the use of violent media yet they refrain from any violent acts. Courts have stated over-and-over that it is impossible to pinpoint media as the cause of violence because there are other factors in the upbringing of the child. This goes for substance abuse and even sexual content in the media as well. Media cannot be held accountable for the affect it has on the mind of those exposed because there are many other factors involved such as disorders, poor upbringing, real life events thy have witnessed, discriminations, family life, and other people they become involved with.