Reap the benefits while avoiding the side effects.
When speaking about the influences of media on teenagers, we may quote the well-known singer and lyricist Jim Morrison, who aptly said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” Media has the capability of shaping the ideas and beliefs of the receptive brains of adolescents.
Continuous media exposure has proven impacts on a teen’s physical, psychological, and social development. In this post, we tell you about the possible impacts of media on teens and share some useful tips to manage media influence on children and adolescents.
Positive Effects Of Media On Teens
Exposure to media is not always bad. Media at large can have a positive impact on teenage behavior and attitudes in the following ways, but remember, it depends on the quality of content you are watching.
Mode of entertainment and self-expression: Social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, provide space for teens to interact with people of similar interests across the globe. Teens find this interaction entertaining and satisfying for their self-expression, thus boosting their confidence and self-esteem.
Could be a source of inspiration: Online documentaries, movies, inspirational stories on the internet, print, and broadcast media can be a source of inspiration for your teen. For instance, you and your teen could watch real life-based movies such as Steve Jobs and Chaplin to get inspired in life.
Helps develop social skills: Some teens and tweens are introverted. For them, social media is a free environment where they can interact without much hesitation. Social networking helps them develop social skills that are necessary for effective communication. Effective communication is necessary to develop and maintain relationships.
Develops social and political sense: Teens and tweens who take an interest in current affairs and news are highly likely to be interested in social, political, and human development issues, like poverty, global warming, etc. It is an important positive effect that could help determine your child’s personality and interests.
Makes them aware of the importance of health: Media disseminates information on health and well-being. A teen, who pays attention to such information, is more likely to be aware of various health issues like teen depression, childhood obesity, etc., and their possible solutions. This might help them make informed and healthy lifestyle choices.
Aids in developing an identity: TV shows, series, and movies with good-quality content can help your tween and teen develop an identity. For example, a movie that reflects gender equality may motivate a teen to follow that in their life. You can strike up a discussion on such issues to educate your child.
Negative Effects Of Media On Teens
There are several ways in which visual media and social media use can become a source of negative influence. Here are some scenarios that must be evaluated (1) (2) (3).
Might lead to health and developmental issues: Extended screen time is associated with poor academic performance, sleep deprivation, reduced physical activity, and face-to-face social interaction. All these factors are associated with health issues, such as obesity and the negative impact on the overall development.
Could develop unrealistic body image: Media has a sharp effect on how teens interpret beauty and positive body image. For instance, the media usually creates an impression that “thin and fair” are beautiful features to have. Such misleading messages can have a negative effect on the child’s self-esteem.
Might instill wrong perceptions: Media often portrays a grown-up to be cool if they eat junk food, smoke, drink alcohol, use drugs, drive fast, etc. All these presentations of adult life can have an influence on a teen, making them emulate their favorite actors.
Might develop erroneous beliefs: Social platforms sometimes are used to spread biased information and fake news. Teens may start believing the provided information, thus causing a shift in their attitude and behavior. Several real-life cases demonstrate how online platforms are used to promote hateful or biased attitudes towards a section of people, eventually causing dreadful results.
May develop mental health concerns: Tweens and teens often get exposed to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of other people’s lives, and peer pressure through the media. All these factors can cause a negative ripple effect on the teen’s mental health. They may become depressed, anxious, isolated, and possibly suicidal.
Might develop violent behavior: A study showed that watching violent television shows and an increase in children’s violent and erratic behavior are positively correlated. Similarly, studies show that playing violent video games alters a teen’s behavior and could make them aggressive.
Might cause addiction: Habitual viewing or gaming may be the most speculated negative effect of the media, especially social media. Research shows that the overuse of social media networking could lead to stimulation that is similar to other addictive behaviors. Most teens post pictures or feelings online and eagerly wait for likes, shares, and positive comments from friends. These experiences activate the brain’s reward system and increase the levels of dopamine. It can raise the likelihood of media addiction in the long run
The negative and positive effect of media on your child depends on the amount of time spent on media and how well parents regulate the child’s exposure to it.