Media's Influence on Youth

What do you think about the media’s influence on the youth of today? There is so much out there to influence the young (and old for that matter), but what do you think? Is it mostly a negative influence that they would be better off without altogether? Or do you think the positive messages out-weigh the negative?

I am 33 and I think the media in general is more light and fluffy than the media we experienced in my generation and I would extend that to my parent’s generation as well. It was scary when I was a kid. The media told us constantly that we were going to be incinerated in a nuclear war with the Soviet Union any day. The predictions for the future were pretty dire with the inner cities being war zones and uncontrollable gangs killing anyone that crossed their path. We had MTV with Satanic heavy metal music. Gangsta rap became big.

Kids today think what they are hearing in the media is bad and shocking. This is Disneyland compared to what we saw back them.

What they do have more of is basically unlimited access to porn via the internet (even with all the restrictions you can put on a computer, the naughty pictures can always be found). A was lucky to get a water damaged, mildewed copy of a 10 year old Playboy when I was a teenager. They also have much more exposure to the “shocking” parts of life simply because more things are out in the open now and the internet makes every possible perversion and oddity available to the casually curious.

“The Media” is a really huge category. Which type of media did you really mean? Newspapers, magazines, video games, television, movies?

As far as commercial television goes (which is still broad, but it’s mostly what I suspect you mean), I think the negatives outweigh the positives by a fairly wide margin. And, personally, I don’t consider the violence and sexuality to be the big problems; I hate the commercialization. I think television makes kids (and adults) think they need or should have so many things they don’t need, and shouldn’t have. I think it puts people’s priorities in all the wrong places, and makes people unwilling and sometimes unable to really think about a problem. Everything comes at you so fast, and everything is made so superficial in order to hurry up and get to the next product plug; I hate it, and I don’t have it in my house. i have a television, but we only watch PBS and movies.

For the record, I think there are some great shows on TV, especially cable, but I cannot justify the expense of cable, especially when it bring so many other things with it. besides, I’d be tempted to watch it too much. :stuck_out_tongue: What I mean is, I think TV can be good, it just usually isn’t.

What is this “television” device you speak of??

Yeah, Tv is what I had in mind. However, I just want to know what people’s opinions are–so in any media area.

roniart, is this a homework question? This sounds like a homework question to me.

It is a curiosity question, silly boy.

This is a pretty broad topic with lots of possible answers.

“The Media” as a single entity does not exist, and we can be influenced differently by different outlets.

However, what a lot of people forget is that there are mediating influences. For example, when a child is aggressive, does he get that from watching cartoons, or is he learning that behavior elsewhere, say, from his parents or from peers? How do you control for content he’s receiving outside the relatively controlled home environment? For that matter, how do you account for children who don’t consume media on a regular basis?

There is a huge body of work out there on just this area; it’s called “cultivation theory” and it was pioneered by George Gerbner of the University of Pennsylvania.


I will check that out, Robyn. Thank you very much!