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Back in the 18th century, it took very little effort to have fun. Simple games, such as hopscotch, jump rope and other activities made from natural materials brought laughter and happiness to families across the world. In the year of 2006, the definition of having fun has been digitally changed fro teenagers. Mass media and new technologies are giving teens many ways to express themselves and to have fun, which of course, comes with a costly price. Media technologies have been changing throughout the past century, affecting not only the communication methods amongst teens, but also their social and psychological behaviour. With the help of newly invented cell phones, television which has oversaturated the world, as well as the seemingly omnipotent World Wide Web, teens are exposed to thing that they should not see. The excuse is that is it fun and entertaining. What most teens do no know, is that they are slowing creating a generation of people who are very dependent on technologies and attention. This has an obviously negative impact on society because people take information for granted and they are willing to spend more money just to save some time in their lives.
One of the most powerful tools in the media is television. It is something that you cannot lack, and almost every family will have in their household. This little screen has changed people’s behaviour in the most drastic way. Teens that are exposed to reality television are becoming more susceptible to degrading others for personal entertainment. Reality shows such as Jerry Springer depict lifestyle trashing and humiliation of others as a golden entertainment (Gallup). The irony in this is as society especially teens, are watching the women/men cry about their miserable lives, they are laughing along. This displays how people have crossed the line of being humane. Why is it that society must feel pleasure off of others misery? The more reality television is broadcasted on the media, the more acceptable this will become. Because of this new entertainment stream, people working in the industry will definitely not give up this opportunity to find cash. As a result, more reality shows such as Big Brother are created. These shows enlarge the used-to-be personal and intimate issue – sex. Since misery of others does not seem to feed the hunger for entertainment, sex is another field in which society did not use to display in such blunt and real manner. In the show Big Brother, the hidden cameras peak into people’s lives and it becomes a climax to the show when two people end up having sex (Gallup). Teens who watch these shows could take these images in the wrong way. They are beginning to perceive that sex is not a big deal; it is just something that people do just for fun. Sometimes teens forget the negative aspects of sex, for example the deadly diseases that could come along with sex and fun. Since the images that are portrayed through television seem so realistic, youth find it hard to distinguish between what is real and what is not. By that stand, teens who are more exposed to television suffer lower grades in school (Gallup). Television and its powers can sometimes be overrated, but the effect that is has on society is still definite.
As television is becoming the staple electronic of every home, cell phones are becoming the new trend for teens. Most parents give their children cell phones in the hope of giving them a good device to use in case of emergencies. That is not the case anymore. “Next time a teenager says, ‘Mom/Dad, if I don’t have a phone, I’m going to be a nobody,’ they are being serious,” said Robbie Blinkoff, an anthropologist (Batista). This shows the demand for cell phones in teens. It is true that when a student has a cell phone, it shows their wealth and standing within the society. Many people think that if someone does not possess a cell phone, they are of the lesser. The media portrays cell phones as necessary accessories for everyone. Celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, or 50 Cent all have the newest cell phones with the most expensive accessories for their phones too. With these images set in the media, it is hard for teens to not follow. Cell phones provide a personal space for teens because the content that is displayed via cell phones is extremely hard for parents to control (Sullivan). Violence, sex, discrimination can occur through the cell phone without knowing its source, and therefore teens could be bullying others without being caught. This causes teens to build up their rebellious manners, making them reluctant to open-up to their parents who, in their eyes, only want them to have less fun. Some of the video games that are played on cell phones have no ratings and therefore teens are playing theses games without knowing its dangers that the game contains (Sullivan). Without control, teens could take messages that are sent through cell phones in the wrong way. Other than the fact that cell phones possess images and messages that are inappropriate, they also cost a lot of money to maintain. Teens use countless amounts of money to fulfill their entertainment needs with wallpapers, themes, ring tunes etc (). They are starting to think that these accessories are a need instead of a want. Parents seem to have little control over what and where teen spend their money on and teens are feeling that it is not necessary to explain why they are using so much money. Overall cell phones are causing teens to spend money, time and stress over whether or not they have the best or newest cell phone in town, regardless of the content that cell phones are projecting.