Media Influe nces on Adoles cents

By: Victoria Barbera This paper is to inform readers about the influence that the mass media has on its viewers, particularly the young generation. Also, it attempts to show examples of media/television influences and focuses on how body image can be damaging to it s viewers through the influence of the mass media. The public needs to become more aware of the negative images that the media can portray on it s viewers, such as violence and unrealistic body images. This large entertainment industry is stated to be here for people!s en"oyment, yet it can cause harm to its viewers in a number of ways. The mass media is a big part of our culture in terms of entertainment, yet it can also be a helper, adviser and teacher to our young generation. The mass media affects the lives of our young by acting as a substitute for a number of institutions and social contacts, by providing information and entertainment, by creating and mediating art, etc. The time spent in front of the television screen is usually at the expense of leisure: there is less time for games, amusement and rest. #ost often children loo$ upon television as a certain $ind of socially beneficial instrument, an open door into the world of the imagination. Attracted by what is happening on the screen, children not only imitate what they see but directly identify themselves with different characters. Another large societal concern on our young generation inflicted by the media, is body image. %xternal forces can influence body image positively or negatively. &or one, societal and cultural norms and mass media mar$eting impact our concepts of beauty. 'n the mass media, the images of standardi(ed beauty fill maga(ines and newspapers, beam from our televisions and entertain us at the movies. %ven in advertising, the mass media plays upon accepted cultural values of thinness and fitness for commercial gain. )oung adults are presented with a narrowly defined standard of attractiveness, an ideal that carries unrealistic physical expectations. Both boys and girls are told that they should loo$ li$e a model, but only one in forty* thousand people, naturally have a model!s body shape. This is a problem because adolescence is a time when young adults begin to separate from their parents and identify their own identities. Acceptance by their peers is of utmost importance. This can ma$e teens vulnerable to ideals embraced by our culture and reflected in the media. To obtain the fashionable, ultra thin loo$, many young men and women restrict their food inta$e. +ometimes, men or women will result to drastic measures to fit the

uent topic of conversation than events and unpleasant moments in school or at wor$. anger. /elivering wrong messages and unrealistic images by the media can only cause problems and trouble for our youth. television watchers can be influenced positively or negatively by what they see on the screen and can go out into the world. or the image that they feel society will accept them. Although the sole purpose of the media is en"oyment for society. the media should be of great concern to our society. than the opposite sex. &or many young people. etc.image they want to be.hat our youth see and view. disorders can develop. is what they feel society wants from them. . and anxiety and even direct to eating disorders. and what friends are doing. 'n closing. the media portrays an unrealistic body image for adolescents and all of society. imitating these acts. . the other mass communication media form a substantially smaller part of the daily topics of conversation. the public should be aware that it could sometimes cause negative effects on its viewers. such as Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa. the world on the television screen is a more fre. This struggle to be accepted by society can lead to feelings of depression. Also. -ompared with television. Also. The mass media can affect children!s thin$ing and behaviors. 'n doing so.