The media has a detrimental impact on adolescents. However, not all media content has detrimental effects on adolescents as some have positive effects on the psychosocial development of adolescents. Nonetheless, there has been a growing concern about the impact of media content exposure on adolescents.
This is because a lot of sexually explicit content, violence, and drug- related information are available on the electronic media, new media, and traditional media. The growing concern on the impact of media on adolescent focuses on behaviours, beliefs and sexual attitudes of adolescents (Gruber & Grube, 2000). Adolescence is a stage of growth and development when a young person is willing to try new things for fun and discover his/her inner self.
Media in this case entails different media channels such as the internet, video games, music, radio, television, movies, and films. Since media has a negative impact on adolescents, both teachers and parents have a role to play in addressing the resultant issues of media exposure on adolescents.
There are more negative effects of media exposure on adolescents than positive ones. An increasingly higher number of adolescents are exposed to sexually explicit media content full of violence, crime, and drug use. Such an exposure makes adolescents more vulnerable compared with other groups. It is also during this stage that sexual behaviours, attitudes and gender are shaped (Gruber & Grube, 2000).
In addition, adolescence is also the stage whereby adolescents develop their cognitive skills with a focus mainly on testing and experimenting. Exposure to violent media content has the capacity to increase the aggressive behaviour of adolescents towards fellow students (Ford-Jones & Nieman, 2003). Moreover, exposure to sexual media content makes children view sex as a risk -free normal activity.
As a result, adolescents are exposed to the risks of early pregnancy, premature sex, and sexually transmitted diseases. Video games with violent actions have the risk of affecting mental development of adolescents. Other notable impacts of media include cigarette smoking and taking alcohol. All these negative effects of media on adolescents include declined academic performance.
Schools and parents play an integral role in addressing the above mentioned issues of media exposure on adolescents. As noted by Ford-Jones and Nieman (2003), previous studies show that schools with programs that promote and encourage media awareness have proven to be beneficial.
Teachers help to create awareness of the effects of exposure to media content on adolescents’ social attitudes, behaviours, lifestyles, school performance and beliefs (Ford-Jones & Nieman, 2003). Concerned adults and parents have a role to play in ensuring that the lives of adolescents are not affected negatively. For instance, they supervise, communicate, and guide adolescents on media choices.
Parents also control the time adolescents spend watching television and on the internet (Gruber & Grube, 2000). Parental control on TV programs, movies to watch and video games to play can also reduce the effects of media exposure. Some parents control and monitor media content and programs that a child is exposed to (Ford-Jones & Nieman, 2003).
Media exposure has detrimental effects on adolescents’ development, behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, and beliefs. In also leads to poor performance in school, smoking, alcoholism, early unplanned pregnancies, risk to STDs, and violence among the adolescents. Parents can play important role by communicating with their children, controlling and monitoring content watched and guiding and supervising media content watched. Schools create enlighten adolescents on the effects of media through special awareness programs.
Ford-Jones, A., & Nieman, P. (2003). Impact of media use on children and youth. Pediatrics Child Health, 8(5), 301–306.
Gruber, E., & Grube, J. W. (2000). Adolescent sexuality and the media. Western Journal of Medicine, 2000 172(3), 210–214.