Media images and portrayal contribute to the socialization of young adults in a broad range of areas, particularly those in which the youth acquires limited knowledge from the society. Since media has been the most powerful and influential form of communication, people have been relying on the messages that media conveys to every program they release in the society. Through media, the young adults become aware of the factors and elements on their surroundings and start to evaluate the proper actions as response to media information.
Apparently, the young adults have been the most vulnerable cluster of the society because of their spending power and their influences on the purchase of the family. This is the reason why adolescent has always been the target of media entertainment industry (France, 117). As the world conforms to modernity, the society also changes adapting the new routines and concepts of living. Media, on the other hand, changes its way of giving information, entertaining people, and communicating to the society.
It is vastly different from the methods and techniques in the previous century; however, its power and appeal to the audience have never been affected by the changes in the society. Everyday, the young adults are being exposed to countless media concepts that help them develop a social understanding and give them a real-world experience. Previous studies have found that sexually related talk and behaviors can be seen on media 8 to 10 times per hour in prime-time programming.
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Entertainment Industry’s Negative Influence
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A large portion of information from media source like television, films, magazines, newspapers, and even billboard advertisements include sexual material and subliminal messages which often involve kissing, physical flirting, and sexual intercourse. Moreover, the intercourse that adolescents see on television or movies often occur between unmarried partners (Brown et al, 60). Sexual messages on media are common and the youth become aware of the risk transmission of AIDS, contraceptives, unplanned pregnancy, and pre-marital sex.
However, aside from sexually related talks and behaviors, the adolescents are also exposed to violence. These violent images can be seen not only on television but also on computer games, movies, and advertisements containing subliminal messages of aggression which can be easily adapted by the young adults. The youth are also exposed to aggressive behavior on media and studies show that a child may had been exposed to hundred thousand acts of aggression and violence from media.
From the children’s preschool period, they are exposed to aggressive images of cartoon shows which portray hitting, slapping, pking, and punching. As they grow up, the maturity stage of the young adults have been exposed to murders, rapes, assaults, and other violent scenes on films and television shows. Most parents have been worried of the violence in media entertainment that may affect the young adult’s behaviors; however it may also seem ironic because of the endless portrayal of media about the true horrors of local and global violence through broadcast reports.
Undeniably, media helps the youth to be aware of the existence of things which they rarely see as they socialize with other people in the society. Through media, the youth is able to picture the world outside their homes. This idea may somehow confuse the parents as well as the young adults because of the inconsistency of information that youth acquire from media and from the society. Media effects do not end in sex and violence; in fact, the adults have been pointing their fingers to the media because of the information that adolescents acquire about drugs and its details.
The entertainment industry has been depicting the use of drugs as prohibited in the society; however, the actors in films and television programs portray the images of people with freedom and courage because of taking alcoholic drinks or using illegal drugs. The media has been releasing advertising campaign against the use of drugs in the society and aiming for a total eradication of illegal drugs through a complete absence of antidrug messages.
This technique aims to develop negative perception about illegal drugs among adolescents and keep them away from the possible use in the future. Surprisingly, there is still an increasing demand on illegal drugs despite the antidrug campaign in the society (Resnik, 49). Oftentimes, despite the intense campaign of media against the use of drugs, the entertainment industry portrays numerous images of people who use drugs and depicts them as rebels or menace in the society.
The youth have found drugs as a tool for manhood and liberty through the images that adolescents have seen on movies and television programs regardless of its negative portrayal on all the media concepts. Undeniably, the young adults dominate the large portion of drug users nowadays. Several theories have been presented addressing the potential effects of media entertainment to the young adults. The cultivation theory suggests that media images particularly the violence and the media portrayal of the world will be perceived as the accurate reflection of reality.
The heavy viewers will have a mean world syndrome and view world based on what they have seen on media. On the other hand, social cognitive theory discusses the behavior that can be adopted by the young adults after watching a certain show. Through observational learning, the youth will adopt the actions and attitudes of the people on media entertainment not because they want to imitate the models but because they get used of the behaviors that are being portrayed by media which has become part of the youth’s constructed reality (Shanahan et al, 20).
Media entertainment has been a part of the existence of the society; in fact, this has been considered as the provider of fun and knowledge for the mainstream. Media images are unquestionably factors why people buy products, conform to the messages that a certain show convey to the audience, and adapt the concepts that the media portrays in every media source. Regardless of positive or negative portrayal, the effects of these images to the people will still be the things to be considered at end of the show.
Brown, Jane. Steele, Jeanne R. & Walsh-Childers, Kim. Sexual teens, sexual media: investigating media's influence on adolescent sexuality. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002 France, Alan. Understanding Youth in Late Modernity. New York: McGraw-Hill International, 2007 Resnik, Hank. Youth ; Drugs: Society’s Mixed Messages. USA: DIANE Publishing, 1990 Shanahan, James ; Morgan, Michael. (1999). Television and its Viewers: Cultivation Theory and Research. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 1999
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