Adolescence is a period of forming ideals and values of a growing person. These ideals and values affect teenager’s self-esteem and psychological health significantly. They are influenced by various institutions of socialization. It is above all a society with its culture, traditions, education system, and the family, school, peer group, that is, those small groups in which a growing person is actually included. An important place here belongs to the media.
A mass media play an important role in the formation of teen’s identity. Newspapers, magazines, radio, and Internet make its huge contribution. But the greatest impact on a teen’s self-esteem has television.
Nowadays television is present in every house. Some people turn it on background, another watch it all day round with their eyes attached to the screen. However, if a teen spends almost all his time watching TV it is a serious reason to think over. A lot of questions rise: How long can they watch TV? And what is the impact of television on the psyche? Why it is bad to watch TV?
Of course, television is a great achievement of human mind. A person can watch on the screen everything which is not possible to see in reality: the other countries, ballets and plays. Television educates and entertains. But unfortunately, the damage of television is also evident. Gradually, it becomes a school of depravity. Television has the greater influence on teens, as an adult can understand that not all of what he has seen in the movies and shows is the norm.
Peculiar properties of teen’s psychology
Teenagers have increased attention to the body and its functions if compared with children. They begin to care intensely about their appearance. They are worried about issues such as their own attractiveness, physique, weight. Because of the wide variability of growth and desire the teenagers compare themselves with peers, and for many of them most important is the sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Positive self-esteem depends on the physical attractiveness and appearance. A profound impact on teenagers has a traditional cultural environment for their ideal image appearance and physique. This is one of the most important components of teen’s relationships, because high self-esteem affects personality, social adjustment and mastering of the broad interpersonal skills.A very important quality of every teenager is a need in some kind of ideal. It may be ideal of appearance, of behavior or relationships. Many tens seek for these ideals in the TV screen.
In addition to attention to their body the increasing interest among teens is in sex as erotic feelings and their expression. Teenagers begin to compare their ideas with the views of others and spend a lot of time talking about sex, telling sexual jokes, they use sexual slang. They begin to interest in sexual experimentation with others. They are young and inexperienced. So where they can drew desired information? The answer is evident: it is television (Brown, 2002).
Taught by television
Television shows (in the image of TV stars, movie characters) behaviors that reflect certain moral values. They can enter into conflict with the values assimilated by person before. Teenagers often resolve this conflict in favor of television, since due to the age peculiarities they are inclined to question the values of adults, and they do not have the guidance and expertise for an adequate moral evaluation. As a result, teenagers may form distorted moral concepts and assessment and, as a consequence, the perpetuation of negative patterns of behavior as “worthy” social norms and values.
If provide a detailed analyses of what teenager can learn from television, we may face the terrifying results. For example, scenes of violence lead to the fact that a teen insensibly becomes accustomed to the devaluing of life: the various actions and thrillers taught people that killing people is very easy. Watching bloody scenes, teenagers lose the fear of death and become to believe that life can be easily interrupted. Perhaps it is the reason of frequent cases of teen’s suicide.
The second disadvantage of television is the fall of morality and culture. In the mouth of the TV heroes a love to a woman is blended with the phrase “make love”. Also the presence of a lover appears in various TV serials as normal.
Reality shows are so firmly embedded in the subconscious mind that many teenagers begin to behave just like their heroes. But such programs show communication which is full of quarrels and abuse; communication amounting at times to battering, whereas in life, on the contrary, teens should seek to conflict-free behavior.
In addition, there is a continuous promotion of a beautiful life. Movies and TV series aim at the fact that to become rich is easy and simple: the money comes by itself. Because of this, many people, especially teenagers, are moving away from reality into fantasy worlds. On the screen the teenagers see a different world, find what is not available for them in our real world. In the movies they see the beaches, leisure, money, and in reality everything is gray and boring. If they think too much about it, they can reach even to suicide. TV movies are not the only means of entertainment for teens, but also a source, a translator of social norms, patterns and behaviors. Negative character in movies often appears as a looser, whereas clever, cunning and skillful criminal is reflected as a positive character (Gupta, 2006).
Is there a solution?
No doubt, television plays an important role in teen’s life. But what is the main reason of teen’s watching TV? It is banal boredom, huge free time, and lack of trust relationships with adults. Society has to teach the teenager to spend his time more appropriate. In this world there are many interesting things: to learn, play sports, work, socialize with friends and family, and then on television will remain an hour or two. During this relatively short period of time they will see that what is really useful, interesting and necessary: scientific, historical film or intellectual entertainment program.
- Brown, Jane D., Steele Jeanne R., Walsh-Childers Kim. Sexual Teens, Sexual Media. Investigating Media Influence on Adolescent Sexuality. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002.
- Gupta, Om. Media Society and Culture. Delhi: Isha Books, 2006.