Parents dread the day their kids turn the age of thirteen. It is that last critical word that scares parents into a dry wall. “Teen” seems to have developed a very negative connotation throughout the years, most thanks to the influence of media around the world. Television, newspapers, and advertisements have all somehow inter-connectedly portrayed teens as rebellious, troublesome, and scandalous.
Television is probably the biggest factor that influences parents because what they see is what they believe to be true. Many modern television shows are more provocative than ever, which scares parents into thinking that their kids will pursue the same actions as them or are already doing so. Parents have the right to be cautious about what their kids watch because studies have shown that teens are twice as likely to engage in sexual activity if they see similar behavior in the media. Violent behavior on TV also increases the likelihood of violent activity. The adolescent stage in development is a fragile one and teens are easily influenced by what makes them fit in. The power of media is not to be underestimated in everyday lives.
But the major problem in media is not how they influence behavior, but how they portray adolescents. Television has constantly made teenagers seem like conniving little brats that go to extremes to get what they want. Reality TV shows are one of the best examples that expose the “secret” life of teens as they sneak around behind their parents’ back to party and hook up. A highly popular TV show amongst teens is “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” on ABC Family, which by itself already suggests that every American teenager has a life of secrets.
Other forms of media also emphasize the wrongdoings of the teenage generation rather than their accomplishments or good deeds. Advertisements that advocate drugs, sex, and alcohol use teenagers as models because teens are easy targets to allure. Even advertisements that are against drugs, sex, and alcohol use teens to portray a message to other teens to stop abusing themselves before it’s too late. Either way, the media presents adolescents in a more negative light than a positive one. Newspapers also take a part in degrading today’s generation by highlighting the not-so-sweet-life of teen celebrities that have taken a slight wrong turn in their career, such as Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan. The Internet is the fastest and most easiest way to deliver information and news. Through the internet, people around the world have access to any type of news story and television shows and even movies. The more accessible media is, the more their contents are exposed, either good or bad. The media does not care how they portray teenagers nor do they care if it’s true or not. All the media cares about is selling their ideas to the people and making a profit out of making false portrayals of innocent people. Just because a few certain teenagers have turned to the dark side does not mean that every teenager lives a constant life of rebellion from their parents or engage in provocative activities. The media has generalized adolescents into such a negative category that fail to emphasize the positive works of successful teens.