Negative Effects of Mass Media on Teenagers

Negative Effects of Mass Media on Teenagers

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“The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses” (Thinkexist, 2010). The mass media, including news, movies, magazines, music, or other entertainment source has become a part of daily life for many people. As the quote mentions mass media and its power are capable of influencing people’s mind and behavior. Contents in the media introduced to young people make it difficult for them to distinguish between what is real and what is not, as a result stimulating confusion and blind imitation. The mass media plays an important role in the increase of violence, sexual activity, and risky behaviors among teenagers.
The first effect of mass media on teenagers is violence. Aggressive behavior is the first example of violence in the media. Aldridge argues that, teens who watch violent movies may behave in an aggressive way towards others for example bullying and fighting in school. This is important because there are high risks of teenage developing into aggressive behavior that may last into adulthood if they are not being supervised on what they see on TV (2010). Fearful of the world may also occur for those who watch violence television programs. According to children and television violence, teens that are being over exposed to violent on television may worry about becoming a target of violence. The relevance of this idea is that teenagers will more likely grow up thinking that the world is a scary place and that something bad will happen to them (2008). Imitative behavior is another major effect of seeing violence in the media. According to Weldon, two teens from Johnstown, Colorado, killed a 7 year old girl by beating her to death. The teens claimed that they were imitating moves from a video game called “Mortal Combat.” This is an example case which shows that violence in the video game may lead to an imitating behavior (2007).
Sexual activity in the mass media is another negative influence on teenagers. The first example is early sexual intercourse. According to Stockwell, a research shows that teenagers who are exposed to a lot of sexual content on television are more to likely to have sex by 16 years of age than those with limited exposure.

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This shows that the teens may be influence to have a sexual intercourse while they are under age (2006). Early sexual intercourse may lead to teen pregnancy. According to Coffey, the RAND Corp. study shows that there is a link between a high exposure to sexual content on television and teen pregnancies. Researchers interviewed 2,003 teens during a three year study period and found that 744 teens said they had engaged in sexual intercourse and 718 of them shared information about their pregnancy histories. A total of 91 interviewed teens said they had experienced a pregnancy or had gotten a girl pregnant. This study shows that teenagers with high exposure to sexual content on TV were twice likely to have been involved in a pregnancy as teen (2008). Lastly, sexually transmitted disease may also be a result of watching a lot sexual content on television. According to Parent Television Council website, teenagers who watch many sexes on TV tend engage in sexual behaviors more often and tend to have more sex partners. This is an important issue because these teens become sexually active earlier in life are putting themselves at higher risk for STDs (2010).
The third negative effect of mass media on teenagers is risky behaviors. First example of a risky behavior is drinking and smoking. According to, a recent study by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) found that alcohol ads on television have increased by 30% from 2001 to 2006 and underage kids are being exposed to them more than ever. Although cigarette ads on television have been banned, teens can still see their favorite TV and movie stars smoking in movies which may often imitate behaviors of their favorite people. Alcohol ads and smoking on television makes risky behaviors like smoking and drinking alcohol seem acceptable (2010). Another example of a risky behavior is racial stereotypes. Vaughan states in his article, “The media portrays many inaccurate stereotypes about various races.” In America, many movies, television shows, and news often show African American and Hispanics as being less intelligent, more vulgar, and more violent than the Caucasians. For example, a movie Star Wars Episode 1 portrayed the character Jar Jar Binks as an idiot who many thought resembled a minority. This racial stereotyping in the media may influence young people to become prejudice against other races or even other gender (2009). Profanity is the last example of a risky behavior which may develop from the mass media. According to the Parent Television Council website, the use of foul languages on television programs and movies has been increasing. Teenager are bombarded daily with more and more cruse words and swearing in the mass media such movies and music. This negatively influences many teenagers because such language seems to become more widespread in the entertainment media (2010).

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