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The Effect of Television Media on Youth Behavior Anorexia nervosa cases have grown 400% in the United States since 1970-2014 due to mass media (Strasburger). How? When a young person has finally reached their 17th birthday, he or she has received over 250,000 commercial messages through the media about the idea of having the perfect body image alone (Strasburger). Mass media is defined as the media used for addressing or communicating with the masses, which means anything that serves as communication amongst a large audience of people. The media has a massive influence on the mental, physical, and psychosocial development on youth. The significance of the influence is debatable but their definitely a connection. According to recent surveys, doctor analysis, and research there is a distinct correlation between the portrayal of sex, violence, and substance abuse and its effect on adolescent and teen development and health. Mass media is something that has existed on the earth as early as 3300 B.C, back when the Egyptians sketched hieroglyphics, which is a writing system based on symbols (American Public University). Currently, the types of mass media has evolved and expanded to a variety of things such as books, movies, newspapers, live broad casts, smart phones, musician

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recordings, and the World Wide Web. Most of the time people use mass media to get news and information, for entertainment, and for communicating with other people. Television and Youth The type of mass media that children and youth spend most of their time fixating on is television (Pediatrics & Child Health). According to the Kaiser Family foundation, most American youth spend an average of four hours a day in front of a TV screen and an additional two hours a day on the internet. The beginning years of a humans life is a critical time for brain development. An excess amount of television can harm the brain and cause lifelong effects on a child. Too much television and other electronic media can get in the way of children exploring, playing and interacting with their parents and others, which helps encourage learning and healthy physical and social development (Effects of Mass media on young generation). Although most people would say you can’t prevent a child from watching television or being on the internet it would be somewhat affective to make sure the content they are being exposed to is positive and not negative. Mass media depicts a certain way youth should be placed in society and literally set the tone regarding youth culture.

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There is a burning desire amongst teens to be popular, to be recognized as being a part of the crowd, to have certain friendships and be in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex (Kellner). This causes youth to not grow and evolve in having their own mindset. They begin to get brainwashed into thinking there is only one way to live life. The risk of Sex and Violence on Television Some people may think that television media has little or no effect on youth, but it actually does. In fact, the American Psychological Association estimates that teens are exposed to 14,000 sexual references and inferences per year on television. Also, three out of four teens say television shows and movies make it seem normal for teenagers to have sex (Lowry). Today, television origin has become teens the lead sex educator about because it the






(Brown). Sex education programs at school should be the main source where teens get information about sex because it is

portrayed in a more appropriate manner Daytime and evening television exposes young adults to adult-like sexual behaviors in ways that depict these actions as natural, normal or free of risk; displaying the message that since these behaviors are recurring, “everybody can do it”. For example, sexual acts between two people that are not married is

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showcased 25 more times regularly than sex between married couples, while sexually transported infections and unplanned pregnancies are hardly ever displayed (Brown). Although numerous people may infer that television media can demonstrate sexual responsibility or abstinence by promoting birth control, such as condom use, there is no current factual evidence that supports this hypothesis. The Mediascope National Television Study stated that most kids that learn aggressive attitudes and demeanors from television. Consequently, they become unbothered to real world violence and can flourish a fear of being victimized by violence. Particularly in boys, over 1,000 investigations prove that disclosure to an abundant amount of television violence develop aggressive behavior (Rand Corporation). The load of brutality on television is on the come up. An ordinary young person witnesses approximately 12,100 violent scenes on TV yearly, along with representations of murder and rape (Lowry). Most children programs on television show heroes lawfully using violence as a technique to overcome conflict. The American Academy of Pediatrics website explains that a continuous disclosure to this type of violence increases approval of violence as a normal of solving issues (American Psychological Association). Many programs that children watch send a message

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that a conflict always involves a “good guy” and “bad guy”. On television, the “bad guy” does not have any consequences for the offences 73% of the time, which dispenses the message that violence is a lucrative approach of settling conflicts. Only 16% of all broadcast television programs show the distant future negative effects of violence (Johnson). Obviously, not all effects the media has on youth are harmful because not all television programs are negative. Television can be an influential teacher. Watching Sesame Street is an illustration of how kids can pick up significant life lessons about friendship, cooperation, charity, unity, math skills and the alphabet. Some TV shows can also inspire visits to the wildlife parks, reference centers, book stores, galleries and other recreational settings. The academic value of Sesame Street has been shown to enhance the reading and learning techniques of its viewers. Even though there are some mentionable positive influences to television watching the negative aspects definitely outweigh the positive ones. Despite its advantages, too much television can be detrimental because it takes away from reading and school work. A well-controlled study done by the Pediatrics and Child Health organization explained that as little as one to two hours of unsupervised television by schoolhouse children has compelling

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deleterious effects on scholarly performances, especially reading. Effects of Television on Health and Body Image Television does not only affect youth mentally, but it affects their physical well-being as well. Children who persistently spend four or greater hours per day watching television are 45% percent more likely to be obese. (Pediatrics & Child Health). Researchers found a collinear affiliation regarding the amount of time of television watched per day and the amount of body fat on a child. With every extra hour/day they spend viewing television was linked with a 2.3 pound increase in body fat (Rosen). Since television watching takes away time activities and recreation, kids who view a great deal of TV are not in shape, and become inactive. Also, they are more likely to eat high fat “junk foods” because of increased calorie consumption while watching or caused by the effects of advertising. Sales pitch for food that is good for the human body only accommodate 4% of food advertisements depicted during the time most children watch television (Kellner). Watching television also causes some young ladies to have eating disorders because they idolize the skinny and anorexic models they see and think that’s the only way their body should look. Which results in unhealthy eating hobbits. Girls become

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conscious of their body image as young as seven years of age. 57% of all the girls surveyed in a poll by Teen People Magazine thought that television media strains them to have an error free body. Also, many teenage boys become apprehensive about the presentation of their body appearance as television advertisements set a higher standard of what is appropriate for a man to be built like. Research shows a huge increase in obsessive weight training and the use of anabolic steroids. Alcohol advertising on Television Yearly, teens view anywhere from 1100 and 2200 beer company’s television advertisements promoting the idea that “real men drink beer” (McKenzie). Some people can argue that television is not the only way that children learn about alcohol use; the concern is that the consequences of these behaviors are not accurately depicted on television. Most G-rated films show underage use of alcohol as normal teenage activities without displaying the long term consequence of this use. On the other hand, there can be beneficial effects on youth behavior from commercials. For instance, it is required by law in certain states that companies that produce alcohol spend 11% of their advertising budget warning about the danger of being under the influence while driving. However, most youth do not comprehend that is just a sales pitch (McKenzie). Instead they

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see the television advertisement and want to “try out” the specific product. Thus, alcohol advertising towards teens had to be made illegal because it was so effective. To ensure healthy development for a child, whether it’s mental or physical, it is important for parents to be knowledgeable about their adolescent or teen exposure to television media and the harmful or sometimes helpful effects it has on them. Also, providing guidance on what is age appropriate will ensure positive use of all media types for their young. Doing so promote a loving relationship between the child and their care taker and also provide a golden pathway to adulthood instead of a corrupted mind.

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Works Cited
American Psychological Association. Summery Report of the American Psychological Assiciation Commission on violence and youth. Washington, DC, 1993. Report. American Public University. History of Mass Media. 2000. 13 February 2014. <>. Brown, JD. Mass Media. New York: Adolesc Med, 2003. Document. Effects of Mass media on young generation. 15 September 2008. Article. 27 February 2014. <>. Johnson, Greg. Television Viewing and media violence. Chicago: PubMed, 2005. Kellner, Douglas. Media Culture. New York: Routeledge, 2006. Lowry, Stanly. "Soap Opera portrayals of sex and rape." January 2012. American Academy of Pediatrics. February 2014. McKenzie, D. Under The Influence? 1999. Youth Alchohol Policy Network. February 2014. <>. Pediatrics & Child Health. Impact of Media use on children. May-June 2003. March 2014. <>. Rand Corporation. What effect does media have on youth? 3 September 2013. 7 March 2014. <>. Rosen, Dennis M.D. Watching TV Leads to Obesity . 2014. <>. Strasburger, Victor. "Health Effects of Media on Kids." Pediatrics (2011): 24-37.