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The Influence of Social Media on Adolescents' Behaviors and Values

7 pages
1884 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Research paper
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.


Youths are brought up in environments that are saturated with media. The teenagers have access to music, games, television, advertising, and games. A national survey that was carried in 2016 indicated that on average the youths spent an approximate of 8.1 hours a day on different forms of media (S.BHAVANA, 2011). The various types of media include video games, cell phones, television, internet, recorded music, self-recorded video, movies, and computers. The youths are involved in both consumption and creation of media content from the various platforms. Additionally, the survey suggested that most kids are introduced to the media while they were still young. More than 85% of youths aged from thirteen to seventeen years and more than 74% of the adolescents have a profile in a social networking site while thirty-eight percent of teens share stories, art, and videos on the media(Madan, Mrug & Wright, 2013).

The media and more specifically the social media give a chance to the youths to create their public profile with the choice of their list which enables them to live and chat and share information and photos to other people. The teenagers are spending more time in the media in to keep them connected with their friends and families (S.BHAVANA, 2011). The media have proofed to be addictive to the youths, and they do not concentrate on other duties, but instead, they jump from one media site to the other. On the other hand, other youths are using the media to benefits in various ways including earning income from the use of media such as commission paid after playing some video games. At the same time, youths have abused the media which have led to most of them not to perform well in their responsibilities.

The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of media on the youths values and behavior. To establish the main thesis of this study, the researcher will seek to answer the following research question

How are adolescents affected by the media?

Are teens pressured to mature fast like celebrities?

What types of media is most commonly used by the youths and why?

Do television and video games have a different relationship with teenagers values and behaviors compared to internet use?

The above questions will be answered in this study to establish the primary thesis of the study which is: mass media influences adolescents values and behaviors.

The Effects of Media on Adolescents

The media has influenced the lives of adolescents in various ways. The different form of media such as video games, mobile media, and television among other forms of media take much of the youth's time. According to Rideout et al. (2010), the adolescents spent more than eleven hours per day on media. Therefore, the media has effects on the life of youths both psychologically and socially. Past studies have indicated that the media affects how the youths evaluate their peers and parents. Additionally, the previous research has indicated that the media affects how the adolescents perceive their social life. According to Arnett et al. (2007), adolescents can be defined as the average timing or girls and boys from the age of ten to eighteen years. The adolescents is a stage transition from childhood to adulthood that is marked with strive or autonomy, and pursuit for personal identity as the teenagers seeks to establish independence from their parents hence the media becomes a vital source of information as the youths try to establish their independence.

The television shows that are conducted on TVs offer information to the adolescents on how adults are supposed to behave and the gender roles, sexual gratification and stereotypical behavior which eventually will affect their behavior. Again, the mobile media give the adolescents the freedom to communicate whatever and whenever they want without some constraints dictated by the family norms. Additionally, the adolescents imitate the various characters that they can interact on in the different media. (Buckingham, 2008) For example, when the adolescents are exposed to more sexual images in the media they initiate the sexual activities which result to unwanted pregnancies and STI. Additionally, the research indicates that there exists a strong relationship between the adolescents exposure to violence in the different form of media and the aggressive thoughts and behaviors.

On the other hand, some useful programs that are beneficial to the youths. For example, various television shows encourage the youths to visit libraries and museums and different recreational settings that are beneficial to the teenagers. Additionally, the advertising that is done on the various forms of media has significant effects on the adolescents behavior. For example, the advertising that is run by the media warning about drinking and driving has proofed to be useful in warning the youths against the habit. Furthermore, increase in alcohol consumption is attributed to increase in the advertisement of alcohol in the media (Buckingham, 2008). However, in the countries where alcohol advertisement have been banned such as Sweden have experienced a decline in alcohol consumption due to the barn on alcohol advertisement.

Another way in which the media affects the adolescents is the sexual messages that prevalent in music, film, and television which tend to mislead the youths concerning their sexual life. Most of the content in the media is highly sexualized hence encouraging fornication among the teenagers. Research has shown that the more the youths are exposed to sexual content in the media the more they are likely to initiate the sexual activity. Additionally, studies show that the effects of informal talk that is common in television and another form of media affect the youths just like viewing the actual sexual behavior. Again, the media promotes cybersex among the adolescents. Cybersex involves virtual sexual relations where the youths can remotely connect through a computer network (Buckingham, 2008). The participants in cybersex pretend they are having sexual relations which will eventually affect their values and behavior.

The violent video games that the youths are exposed to in the media makes the adolescents not to pay attention to school work and acts aggressively towards their peers and their parents. Additionally, violent video games make the youths to be violent when they are confronted. Internet bullying is another effects of media on the youths values and behavior. More than 50% of the youths have confessed that in one way or the other they have experienced cyberbullying. Cyberbullying when not well handled can lead to suicidal behavior and ideation.

In summary, the effects of media on the adolescents values and behavior are both positive and negative. The parents should play their role ensuring the content that the adolescents view on the media are regulated.

Teens Pressured To Mature Fast Like Celebrities.

Children are maturing faster due to the internet and social media. A study shows that seventy-seven percent of parents blame the internet and celebrity for aster maturity among their children. According to research from the University of Calgary, thirteen percent of teen want to look more than celebrity (Jordan & Romer, 2012). Additionally, the study showed that the pop singers influence the choice of clothes that the youths wear. The research also showed that the youths admitted that celebrity influence personal values, beliefs and attitudes, therefore, celebrity influence is a problem among the teenagers. The youths want to know more about a particular celebrity and to dress like a celebrity. The craving to be like a celebrity and to dress like a celebrity can be attributed to the age when the adolescents want to be different from their parents.

The adolescents are pressured to know much about the media by the peers. The adolescents are expected to know how to use the internet and how to navigate through the different sites on the internet. The video games and the internet play a vital role in the social, emotional and psychological developments of the youths. The exposure on video games expose the adolescents intellectually, while the youths fail to develop socially and emotionally. Additionally, the media makes the youths to be more disconnected from their families when they play games and use the internet (Jordan & Romer, 2012). The exposure to media and the internet are making the teenagers to lose the innocence that is mostly associated with childhood. The media have made teenagers be more drawn to the adults life of technology, fashion, and sex. Through the media and celebrity life, young girls are encouraged to wear makeup to look beautiful wile else at that age they should be enjoying the childhood. The media such as different websites such as fosters teenagers to behave and relate to adults and inform them how to dress like a celebrity. The parents should ensure teenagers have a celebrity and role model in the real world to avoid them mimicking the pop singers who are misleading the youths.

Types of Media That Are Commonly Used By Youths

Different types of media are available today to be used by the youths. A survey was carried out to determine the media that are commonly used by the youths aged between thirteen and twenty-four years. According to the research among the different forms of media used by the teenagers, the social media is the leading in that category. Among the forms of social media, the Instagram is the commonly used social media with seventy-three percent of youths admitting that they use Instagram in day-to-day life. Additionally, Facebook was found to be the most familiar used by young adults and teenagers between the age of twelve and twenty-four years. The mobile devices are used to visit the social networking sites. The familiarity and common use of social media can be attributed to the extensive usage of mobile phones among the youths. Studies show that ninety-three percent of adolescents have access to mobile phone hence they can access the social media with a click of a button (Jordan & Romer, 2012). Additionally, the youths spent most of their time on the internet through the use of mobile devices. On average the youths spent an approximate of four hours hence they can access social media.

The Effects Of Video Games And Television On The Teenagers Behavior And Values Compared To Internet Use.


Television has both negative and positive effects on the youth behavior and values. The TV gives negative exposure to the youths through inappropriate sexuality. On average the teenagers spent fourteen hours per week watching television. The influence of television on the teenagers values and behavior is directly proportioned to the amount of time spent on watching the television (Jordan & Romer, 2012). Watching television reduces the time that the teenagers should spend on other activities such as spending time with peers and the families and developing essential skills in life. The effects of television include

Television may bring educative programs which will equip the teenagers with crucial skills in life

Some programs run on the television are violent hence the teenagers become more aggressive and may even lead to suicide.

Teenagers who spent most time watching television are less physically fit

Television is the leading sex educator and exposes the teens to adults sexual behavior which leads to the teens experimenting premarital sex.

Video Games

Video games help the teenagers to develop coordination skills and excellent motor skills. Excessive exposure to video games leads to adverse effects such as antisocial behavior. Additionally, violent video games make the t...

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