People cannot deny the fact that media has been playing a powerful and influential role in the society. All the people are affected by the messages that are being shown on media sources and unconsciously change the values and beliefs that have been presented in the society. Undeniably, media contributes to the messages that develop the environments of the adolescents. Even parents agree that media has a great impact on the lives of adolescents but this opinion always leads to negative perception of adults toward media because of the influence that media conveys to the young generation.
The information that is released by the mass media is willingly absorbed by the people. Adolescents are often targeted by this information because of their ability to conform easily to what media has exposed to the society. The vulnerability of adolescents in absorbing the knowledge and information that media has provided for them often leads to both negative and positive impacts not only on the adolescents themselves but also on the community.
Because the young adults are the active consumers of the messages that are being portrayed in media sources like television, radio, newspapers and magazines, they have been the target of the information showed on media. Sexuality on Mass Media The sexual contents in media can affect the people not only the adolescents; however adults have been expressing their concern for the young people because of their early exposure to sexual messages.
According to surveys, the average teenage viewer sees hundreds of sexual behavior on television a week with portrayals of four times as many sexual activities between married and unmarried couples. Moreover, most of the movies that are being shown on cable networks and videos on music channels contain sexual messages. Some researches also suggest that the sexual messages that are being portrayed on media sources are presented in positive aspects with little discussion of the consequences and potential risks (Gruber and Grube).
Media has been influential in transferring information to the viewers. In fact, media is used by the young adults to get information about sexuality. Moreover, teenagers view the people showed by the media as the role models of sexy body and aspire to have the same body size and figure as what they have seen on television or magazine (Brown). Advertisements are created in order to persuade the target consumers to buy a certain product; however the audiences tend to buy not only the product that is being endorsed by the media but also the subliminal content of the advertisement.
In other words, media is able to influence the emotional and psychological aspect of the society on the messages that are being conveyed on a certain media source. One television shows for teenagers portrays sexually active individuals openly talking about sexual experiences. The advertising poster of one milk brand shows a half naked woman while being bathed by the product. Physical flirting, kissing, and intercourse are often depicted and implied by the media to which adolescents are greatly exposed as they become matured individuals (Brown et. al).
Media and Adolescents The people absorb the messages that media portrays to the society. Apparently, media has been an influential source of information for the people because it is the most accessible way of learning about any aspects in a person’s life. Since adolescents are the active consumers of the information that are being showed by the media, the messages that media offers to the society are largely absorbed by the young cluster of the society. Therefore, media has a great impact on the development of the youth and the construction of the society.
Heavy exposure of adolescents to sexual messages of media helps the youth in developing beliefs and perceptions. Since this cluster of the society is extremely exposed to the messages that are being conveyed by the mass media, the effects of the information that media shows to the society will be easily absorbed by the youth. Media frequently shows images with sexual content to the society which young generation takes the largest part of the viewing population. In this aspect, information from media may promote sexual initiation and illusion to the young people.
Adolescence is the stage of developing sexual exploration which can be triggered by many factors that are present in the society. In this period, the teenager becomes aware of the sexual behaviors that should be considered appropriate for his or her age. However, despite the idea that many young adults still prefer not to be engaged to sexual activities in a very young age, many teenagers are being affected by the factors of the society that change their views toward sex. In other words, adolescents are easily influenced by the perceptions of other people and conform in the cultural norms (Collins et.
al). Teenagers easily follow what they can see on the society by imitating what they have seen others are doing and desiring to be fit on the society. Since media has been portraying sexual images without negative consequences to the teenagers, these people on the complicated stage of life would adopt the behaviors that are portrayed to them. Even though teenagers are aware that what media showed are all products of imagination and created only to attract viewers’ attention, the young adults would still perceive the message as reality and believe to the information that media had provided for them.
Although some messages on media shows sexual risks, many teenagers tend to engage to sexual activities because of the media’s lack of emphasis to the consequences that it may bring to the young adults. Surprisingly, the media sources even portray safe sex messages and less discouragement to the viewers. However, most researches show that the programs that teenagers have sexual content. Some of the films and television programs portray characters believing in the idea that having sex would keep the romance alive in the relationship.
The others talk about sexual experiences which conveyed encouragement to youth to be engaged to sexual activities. Although most of the media sources depict sex as common, some show patience to wait for the proper time and risk sexual consequences, such as unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. However, those programs still evoke sexual behaviors to viewers despite their resistance to sexual activities. In turn, these scenes mold social perspectives and affect the behavior of the young adults. Sexuality on Media and Consequences to Adolescents
One of the impacts of sexuality towards media has been discussed even at the introduction of this study; however several problems still exist that adolescents and society may encounter because of the images portrayed on media sources. Aside from imitating and conforming to the messages that the young adults have learned through media, bigger problems may occur in society because of the constant exposure of images and frequently portraying of subliminal messages. In other words, short exposure of sexual images would bring a lifetime of societal problems.
Since adolescence is the period in which a person strives hard to fit in the society, this stage is associated with conflicts and complicated aspects to young adults. Young adults conform to society and imitate the actions that adults do which becomes a constructed reality for them. Sexual content on media leaves a mark to young viewers and construct a new perspectives toward sex. In this aspect, a teenager engages in sexual activities at an early age then tends to pursue intercourse once committed to an intimate relationship.
In other words, the young adults may continue to engage in sexual activities once they get involved in relationships with different persons. This idea does not show societal problems in terms of polygamy but poses a rather alarming problem. The risk of having sexually transmitted disease for constant shifting of partners can be one of the bigger problems that may be encountered by the society. Aside from this problem, unplanned and unwanted pregnancy often occurs in the society. A growing number of young people who became parents at a very young age are one of the problems that the society is facing today.
Some teenagers are being strong enough to face the consequence of engaging to sexual activities by pursuing the pregnancy and accepting the responsibility of early parenthood. However, some prefer to escape the conflict of unwanted pregnancy and engage in abortion, which leads to another societal problem. If these problems would be viewed in a broader aspect, the adolescents’ sexuality results in an immature way of parenting that would lead to domestic violence to divorces and separation.
Apparently, these problems have different factors to look back to; but the causes are oftentimes neglected focusing on the bigger or less important ones. Media is being used by the young adults for daily entertainment which makes them active consumers because of more time that are being spent on media rather than other activities. Moreover, adolescents use media to gain information regarding common issues in developing to become independent individuals and use the information learned in their daily lives.
Although media has a purpose for sowing certain messages, adolescents use the messages acquired from media in different manner and purpose (Levesque). Undeniably, media has a great impact on the sexuality of adolescents. The influence of media can be considered as positive because of its ability to teach the youth about sex education and leaving them the choice to conform or negative for showing too much sexuality making youth exposed to unrealistic aspects of the society and giving them courage to conform to the media’s constructed reality.
The sexual images that are being shown to young adults are not only a source of information but can predict and picture the future of the world through the social perspectives and sexual behaviors that are being constructed for the young adults.
Works Cited Brown, Jane. February 2002. “Mass Media Influences on Sexuality – Statistical Data Included. ” Health Care Industry. 12 December 2008 <http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m2372/is_1_39/ai_87080439/pg_2? tag=artBody;col1>. Brown, Jane Steele, Jeanne & Walsh Childers. Sexual Teens, Sexual Media: Investigating Media’s Influnce on Adolescent Sexuality.
New Jersey: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, 2002. Collins, Rebecca, Phd. Elliot, Marc, PhD. Berry, Sandra, MA. Kanouse, David, PhD. Hunter, Sarah,PhD. & Miu, Angela,MS. Watching Sex on Television Predicts Adolescent Initiation of Sexual Behavior. Pediatrics. 3 September 2004: 280-289. Gruber, Enid & Grube, Joel. 2000. “Adolescent Sexuality and the Media. ” PubMed Central. 12 December 2008 <http://www. pubmedcentral. nih. gov/articlerender. fcgi? artid=1070813>. Levesque, Roger. Sexuality Education: What Adolescents’ Rights Require. New York: Nova Publisher, 2003.