Over the past decade, people have become quite dependent on media so as to get information about what is happening in the world around them. Among many other things, media includes magazines, newspapers and television, which provides users with information regarding recent developments and inventions, entertainment articles and much more. Nowadays, this information is also available over the internet, which allows users easy access, anytime, anywhere. Technological advancements have facilitated the spreading of information, both efficiently and cheaply. However, as a result of the benefits gained by all such advancements, people are not realizing its harmful effects on today’s youth. Teenager’s addiction to media results in social, mental and health problems. The impact of media on the social lives of teenagers has been quite devastating. Teenagers tend to get addicted to information from media quite easily. This addiction outcomes in a failure to live a decent, social life, as they spend more time using the different types of media, rather than interacting with the people around them. Television has the greatest impact on the social life of a teenager.
On an average, a teenager usually spends at least 4½ hours a day watching television. (Uzoma, 2014) This results in less time for the individual to interact with others. Even though television helps in fulfilling certain social needs of a teenager, it does not help in developing the social skills required in everyday life. As a result, teenagers may face difficulties when they gets into a university. They could face hardships while making new friends or even while starting a general conversation with their classmates. Their lack of social skills would also create difficulties for them when they would apply for a job, as various elements in a job require the individual to interact with the people around them. In addition to that, excessive time spent on media also means that youth nowadays do not take seriously the work assigned to them by their parents or teachers, such as household chores, assignments and projects, and so, fail to complete them on time.
Addiction to media also effects the youth mentally. As mentioned above, they face difficulties while communicating to a person during face to face interaction. A teenager, therefore, may even lose confidence in their abilities and may fear that they may be made fun of when they are not around. They might feel alone or mentally depressed. In extreme cases, a teenager could feel isolated as they would have no one to support them, and this could even lead to suicide. Exposure to media at night, before sleeping, could disrupt the sleeping routine of a teenager which could eventually lead to mental stress and tiredness. Around 20% to 30% of teenagers suffer from the problem of sleep disturbances. (Armstrong, 2009)Furthermore, media plays a huge role in determining a youth’s attitude towards a particular subject. Media, quite efficiently manages to manipulate the mind of a teenager on topics such as, politics, popular commodities, family relations, etc. For example, media portrays the image of parents as annoying and complaining in the eyes of a teenager.
As a result, media prepares a similar mental image of parents, in a youth’s mind which often hinders the relationship among parents and children. Health issues are also often related with teenagers who use excessive media. They spend hours sitting in the same place without moving around, keeping themselves busy with the various sources of media. The youth, as a result, fails to do any physical exercise such as playing outdoor sports, going to gym, etc. This leads to obesity, which is a serious health problem associated with majority of the teenagers around the world. In 2008, more than half a billion people were obese and at least 2.8 million people die each year due to obesity. (Virot, 2014). The content shown by media also influences the youth towards harmful activities such as smoking. Media has portrayed an image that, in order for the youth to be prominent among their peers, they need to engage themselves in such activities.
Around 20% of teenagers are reported to be smoking regularly, smoking 12.7 cigarettes on an average per day. (Eastwood, 2013). Staying engaged with media also leads to poor eating habits, which could have devastating effects on the growing up of a teenager as their nutrient needs will not be fulfilled. Hence, social, mental and physical problems, is a condition which is faced by majority of the teenagers today. If our present generation stays this dependent on media, it is quite unimaginable what the state of our future generations will be. Therefore, Parents and other social and cultural groups need to step in and create an environment in order to bring the youth out of this grave crisis. The usage of media to this massive scale should be reduced so that teenagers live a healthy and prosperous life.
Armstrong, K. (2009). The Young and the Restless. Retrieved from Sleep Disorder Help: http://www.sleepdisorderhelp.com/index.cfm?ID=11 Eastwood, P. (2013). Statistics on Smoking. Retrieved from Health and Social Care Information Centre: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB11454/smok-eng-2013-rep.pdf Uzoma, K. (2014). Live Strong Foundation. Retrieved from Live Strong: http://www.livestrong.com/article/222032-how-much-tv-does-the-average-child-watch-each-day/ Virot, P. (2014). World Health Organisation. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/obesity/facts/en/index1.html