Values Portrayed in the Popular Media and the Effects on Our Youth

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Values Portrayed in the Popular Media and the Effect on our Youth

Kristin K. Lilienthal

ENG 122: Composition II

Holly Ledcke

August 27, 2012

Values Portrayed in the Popular Media and the Effect on our Youth

In October of 1993, after one teenager was killed and two others were critically injured, Disney announced that they were removing a scene from there movie The Program. The scene showed members of a football team lying in the middle of a highway while cars sped past them in both directions, in attempt to prove how brave they were (N.Y. Times, 1993, Oct. 20). This is just one example of children being injured or killed while imitating acts they have seen in the media. While there are steps that parents can take to combat the influence media has over their children, the values being portrayed in today’s media are having a negative effect on our children.

The death and injuries of the teenagers imitating what they saw in the media, is not an isolated incident. In 2001, 13 year old Lionel Tate was convicted of first degree murder, for killing a 6 year old girl. Tate claimed that he was imitating the moves he saw on professional wrestling (Canedy, 2001, Jan., 26). In Torrington, CT a 13 year old, Jason Lind, was hospitalized with second and third degree burns, after imitating a stunt he saw on saw on television. His 14 year old friend, who was with him at the time, was arrested on reckless endangerment charges (Associated Press, 2001, Jan. 29). The news is full of stories like these, where someone sees an act on television or in the movies and is injured or killed trying to recreate it.

According to Albert Bendura (as cited in Witt & Mossler, 2010) both children and adults learn by watching and copying other people. This process is referred to as “observational learning.” A 2010 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that youth between the ages of eight and eighteen years old spend an average of 53 hours a week on some form of electronic...