Arguably, in the 21st century media has manipulated every phase of life in the world. The media have become the most specialization agents among teenagers. Many years ago teenagers were under the control of parents and teachers; this was because the media were at its developing stage, and the internet was nowhere. Today, teenagers learn every aspect of life from the media and choose it on their own. The media have, therefore, had a lot of influence on teenage drug use, and if nothing is done, this will go to another level. The teenagers are at a stage that is full of experimentation and independence. Media images of teenage drug use have had negative impacts. Researchers and parents assert that social media and networks is a double-edged sword on the behavior of teenage and use of drugs. Evidently, media influence the decisions of teenage on various issues such as drug use.
The media images of teenage drug abuse have a tremendous negative influence on young blood, and immature minds leading to negative social values. The information in the media presents electronic and printed sources, videos, and information on the social media is a replica of the controversial issues that the society is facing today, as well as beliefs pertaining drug use. The media advertisement is seen as attractive and romantic; in fact, the way alcohol and smoking is presented in the media benefits the large companies, whereas on the other hand influencing the teenage negatively (Stern 331). This advertisement attracts the teenagers towards smoking, and alcohol use.
The images in the media are associated with the principles of enjoying drugs, sex, as well as the issue of living hard and dying young. The music also drives the teenage towards drug use. Teenager today spending most of their time on social networks such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter has increased teens' risk of drinking, abusing illegal drugs, as well as smoking. The social sites always have teens and young adults as the target (Zastrow al 263). Teenagers in society are the most vulnerable to media images, information, and other external influences. In most scenarios, alcohol abuse, drug consumption, and smoking come as a result of emulation of what is in the media and within the family. The media present successful celebrities who smoke and abuse alcohol, and without critical analysis the teenagers just follow their behaviors.
Apart from parents and peers, media has the power to influence teenagers. The internet, movies, and music have become influential in a way. Movies portray charming and hilarious drug dealers, and talented artists who are using drugs to gain confidence. The teenagers are then inspired by what they see, with intent to be cool and successful. The images in the media sufficiently affect and confuse the minds of teenagers (Aue 20). Research shows that Hollywood movies show various ways in which drugs are used. For example, movie actors use drugs to alleviate pain of inducing a rebellious character. This sort of images in the movie and media is appealing to the teenagers.
In some occasion, media images show that drugs use and alcohol abuse cause violence, but at the same time it portrays it has been a culture that will never end. This sort of image will influence the teenagers mentally, knowing that this is part of a culture. Hence, they will always be forced to be part of the culture by identifying themselves with alcohol. Media has also attracted the teenagers to consuming alcohol through the introduction and advertisement of energy drinks. These sorts of drinks have alcoholic effect; the introduction of energy drinks targets the teenagers. The media is always propagated a popular, independent and proactive teenagers whose success are associated with the energy drink. The teenagers will always copy the behavior and start drinking the energy drinks that has alcohol (Stern 332).
It is crucial to assert that the factors that lead adults to abuse drugs are different to those that influence the teenagers. In most cases, adults focus on escaping difficulties of life, whereas, teenagers abuse drugs to make them feel high and gain self-confidence. Other reasons that these teenagers abuse drugs are because of curiosity, pleasure, boredom, and independence. The media has generally influence the teens because they portray abuse of drugs positively. The link between media images and information, and the reality is so different, but the teenagers always trust what is in the media (Miller 59).
In conclusion, it is evident that the teenage use of drugs is pre-conditioned by what is seen in the media. Nevertheless, parents are to be blamed on the rising issue of teenage use of drugs, this is because they are the immediate socialization agent to teenagers. In general perspective, the media portrays a positive image of drug use and alcohol abuse that attracts the teenagers. The responsible stakeholders should take the initiative of advising the teenagers and regulating, media influence on teenage behavior. With the advancement of technology, it is evident that the issue of drug use among teenage will be a controversial in society.
Aue, Pamela W. Teen Drug Abuse. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006. Print.
Miller, Michelle. Adolescent Relationships and Drug Use. London: Wiley, 2000.
Stern, Susannah. “Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use in Teen Centered Films.: Journal of Health Communication, 10.4 (2005): 331-346. Print.
Zastrow, Charles, and Karen K. Kirst-Ashman. Understanding Human Behavior and the Social Environment. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.