Today, media plays a large and crucial role in our everyday lives. It manifests itself into thousands of shapes and forms, and aides us in several ways. No one can go a day without seeing technology at its finest. Although media doesn’t solely affect teenagers, it truly takes up a particular space in a teen’s life. Just how much of a teen’s life is involved with media? What effects does media have on us? How much media is too much?
Media is defined by Google as “the main means of mass communication (esp. television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet) regarded collectively.” I’ve used media to define itself and I’m using Google Docs to type this text. I was watching television only moments before typing these words. Media truly surrounds us. One can take a look around a classroom or a hallway and easily catch sight of a student on their cellphone or with their earbuds in. Perhaps one can overhear a conversation about a popular television show or an interesting tidbit from their favorite social networking website. If a moment is taken to stop and observe, in the right place, these occurrences are guaranteed.
Many times, I have heard adults discuss whether or not all the media and technology is detrimental to our generation. Theories such as text talk making teens illiterate or video games creating violence suggest such detriments. Of course the question becomes, how many of these theories are accurate? It’s a hard thing to tell. Various studies say this or that, but there has not been consistent evidence. I’m sure media does have it’s detrimental effects, such as false beauty standards or loss of reality, but media does play a helping hand in our lives.
Technology and media is truly a great essence in our lives. As teens we have a lot on our plate and media helps us out. The internet is a huge database of information; if used correctly, it aides us in the pursuit of knowledge, be it desired or not. Social networking sites help us in keep in touch with our social nature; it allows communication to friends near and far. It allows us to express ourselves, a worthy place for our growing minds. Media connects almost the entire world together intricately through television, cell phones, the internet, and many other forms.
Despite the good and the bad of media, is there a too much? Is it possible that teens spend way too much time with media? I like to think that media is really only good for us. I love to spend my leisure time surfing the web, but does it give us a certain detachment to the world around us? For example, I love to sit with my best friends and enjoy a fun conversation about a variety of things. Yet, I often gradually end up watching them pull out their cell phones, or their iPod touch and begin to deal with whatever sudden business calls upon them. I personally don’t have a cell phone or any other handheld device that allows me to access media, so at moments like that I end up simply observing as every one of my friends pulls out a screen to take a look at. Sometimes I hold up my hand, make gestures as if I were on a cell phone, and wait a moment before making a snarky remark. Then they laugh, yet continue on their merry media way. Does this bother me? No, not really, but there is one situation I found a little unsettling. During a small birthday gathering at a friends house, we sat comfortably watching movies and in the midst of a movie I saw all three of them on their cell phones at once. Not to say that the movie should be withholding them from their business, but is it that urgent? I find myself asking that question a lot, is it that urgent? Besides this case, I’ve noticed that many teens in general have a strong attachment to their phones or their other means of communication and it’s almost a phenomenon how evident it is. Perhaps it isn’t evident to everyone, but it sure is if you take a look around.
Thus, what kind of role does media play in a teenagers life? Is it detrimental to our health or does it help with our well being? Media truly does connect the world and allow communications in almost endless possibilities. But at what costs? Perhaps we should all take a moment to look around and determine for ourselves how much media is too much media.
Teens using technology