Contemporary media has a huge impact on American teenagers. Television, internet, computer games, magazines, and music influence the daily decisions that teens make. This issue has spurred the development of organizations to help limit the inappropriate material in today's media. One example of an organization that has put forth an effort to control media is a website called parentstv.org. It is an informational site that keeps parents informed and updated on TV and movies that they believe are either inappropriate or acceptable for young viewers.
A study taken on American teenagers in 2007, tallied the average amount of media consumed in that year. The average teen spent about 65 days in front of the television, 41 days listening to the radio, a little over a week on the internet, and about a week listening to recorded music. The average teenage consumer spends around $936.75 on media per year.
Media not only takes up days of a teenagers life, but it also can cause them to make bad decisions or participate in acts they are not yet ready for. For example, the most popular television shows for girls 9 to 12 years old are Desperate Housewives, American Idol, The O.C., Will and Grace, and One Tree Hill. Boys of the same age group most frequently watch The Simpsons, Malcolm, and The O.C.. 66% of children ages 10 to 16 say their peers are influenced by television shows. Children spend more time watching TV than any other activity except sleep. In a national poll for TV guide, 57% of viewers said they noticed an increase in offensive material on television lately. On that note, TV alone is responsible for ten percent of youth violence. By the age of 18, a US youth will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence. TV shows are also showing more explicit material such as sexual scenes, and using more deragatory language, which in turn is making it seem acceptable in today's culture. Teen pregnancy is a main issue that has been down played by the media. With examples such as Jamie Lynn Spears, and TV shows and movies like The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Juno, which have leading female protagonists who are pregnant, teens think it is the hip thing to do.
Another problem facing today's American teens is the issue of weight. Magazines, movies, and TV shows all showcase "too thin" models and anorexic movie stars. Magazines give tips on how to loose weight fast and keep it off. Magazines should be teaching body acceptance not a one size fits all ideal.
Today's media has its flaws, but it also has provided great growth for the American way of life.
· Remember that the sun will still rise tomorrow even if I had one too many slices of pizza or an extra scoop of ice cream tonight.
· Never blame my body for the bad day I'm having.
· Stop joining in when my friends compare and trash their own bodies.
· Never allow a dirty look from someone else to influence how I feel about my appearance.
· Quit judging a person solely by how his or her body looks — even if it seems harmless — because I'd never want anyone to do that to me.
· Notice all the amazing things my body is doing for me every moment I walk, talk, think, breathe...
· Quiet that negative little voice in my head when it starts to say mean things about my body that I'd never tolerate anyone else saying about me.
· Remind myself that what you see isn't always what you get on TV and in ads — it takes a lot of airbrushing, dieting, money, and work to look like that.
· Remember that even the girl who I'd swap bodies with in a minute has something about her looks that she hates.
· Respect my body by feeding it well, working up a sweat when it needs it, and knowing when to give it a break.
· Realize that the mirror can reflect only what's on the surface of me, not who I am inside.
· Know that I'm already beautiful just the way I am.
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