TV has become a key member of the family. It tells most of the stories most of the time. We depend on TV for entertainment, news, education, culture, weather, and sports. With the recent advancement of satellite TV and internet TV we have access to both good quality and inappropriate contents. Television affects the teenager’s attitude and orientation and has strong impact on teenagers because visual message compels them more. First, it gives them information and awareness and persuades them to do something or adopt new trends afterwards. The following context describes the positive and negative impacts of TV on the teenagers today.
Education and Entertainment
Television has its good side. Television is a source of entertainment and education and opens up new worlds for teenagers, giving them a chance to travel the globe, learn about different cultures, and gain exposure to ideas they may never encounter in their own community. TV shows and programs with prosocial messages have a positive effect on teenager’s behavior. The programs with positive role models influence teenagers to make positive lifestyle choices.
On the other hand, television is giving negative exposure to teenagers like promoting alcohol, smoking, violence, sexuality etc. For example, there are too much contents of sex on television in ads, soap operas, music videos and movies. Watching sex on TV increases the chances a teen will have sex, and may cause teens to start having sex at younger ages. Even viewing shows with characters talking about sex increases the likelihood of sexual initiation.
Obesity among teenagers
Obesity is a big issue in teenagers. Teenagers who watch too much TV are more likely to be inactive and tend to snack while watching TV. They often spend most of the time in front of the TV on weekends, holidays and evenings instead of sports and healthy activities. Many TV ads also encourage unhealthy eating habits like fast foods, sugary drinks, snacks, candies and etc. The food and beverage industry targets children with their television marketing through commercial and product placement.
Affects reading habits
Teenagers who are heavy television viewers dislike reading and tend to read materials of lower quality. Moreover, teenagers who spend more time with television and other screen media report lower grades and lower levels of personal contentment. In general, mostly heavy TV viewers get poor grades (mostly C’s or lower) compared to moderate and light TV viewers. Teenagers spend most of their time in front of their TV rather than study in the library.
Sleep problems among teenagers
Regular sleep schedules are an important part of a healthy life. Teenagers who spend most of the time in front of TV have more irregular sleep schedules. Teens who watches TV late night and do not have enough sleep per day have high risk of sleep problems by early adulthood.
Different studies have proven that TV has strong effects on teenagers. Teenagers who watch too much TV sometimes try to mimic unsafe behavior on TV. Teens have been injured trying to repeat dangerous stunts they have seen on television shows.
Promote alcohol and smoking
The alcoholic drinks are the most common beverage portrayed on TV and they are almost never shown in a negative light. TV ads are a major factor in normalizing alcoholic drinks and tobacco use in the minds of teenagers. Alcohol and smoking ads portray people as being happier, sexier, and more successful when they drink or smoke.
Television has a powerful influence in developing value systems and shaping behavior. Unfortunately, much of today's television programming is violent. Teenagers who watch too much violence and horror become:
- "immune" or numb to the horror of violence
- gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems
- imitate the violence they observe on TV
The average American teenager watches two to three hours of television a day. Sexuality is often presented on TV as a casual activity without risk or consequences and the messages from these content let the young viewers absorb and promote sexual activity.
Therefore, teen sex, teen pregnancy, rape in teen, teen victim of violence, crime and murder is getting common these days.
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Television itself is a good thing and has many good aspects but teenagers are more impulsive and may not think clearly or to differentiate between right and wrong things. Here are some recommendation for parents, guardian, teachers, counselors and other interested people.
- Parents or guardians please take control of TV watching for teenagers
- No late night TV and limit the day time TV watching
- No TV during the study time, and limited weekend TV watching
- Keep the TV off during family mealtimes
- Make conversation a priority in your home
- Do not use TV as a reward or punishment
- Encourage active recreation
- Get the TV sets out of your teenager’s bedrooms
- Watch shows with your teenagers and talk about them afterward
- Pay attention to what is in the TV shows your teen watch
- Encourage educational shows, Avoid violent shows