The average American will view around 3,000 advertisements a year in which the models generally weigh 23% less than the average woman; meaning that the average teenager is being influenced by the wrong message far too often.
Media that targets teenage girls emphasizes the ideal that the smaller your waist the more desirable you are; even though the average woman weighs in at 145lbs and the average model at an unhealthy 100-110lbs. Unrealistic? Unreachable? Of course, but that’s not stopping anyone. It is commonly known that the media has had a negative impact on the percentage of children developing depression, eating disorders and self harming tendencies. No, it isn’t just the skinny star in your son or daughter’s favorite movie or the size 2 model on the front of this months Vogue forcing the issue, but they aren’t exactly helping. Are they?
The preoccupation with weight has become an increasing issue since the 1970’s when the amount of diet products advertised in magazines and on television multiplied. This subliminal persuasion has resulted in the idea that if you are female it is normal to be unhappy with your body. This unhealthy ideal is influencing children as young as eight. As children become increasingly aware of their body image the number of children anorexics rises and has done to the point where almost 50% of anorexics are aged between thirteen and nineteen. Shocking enough?
As an avid blogger myself I can vouch for the fact that the images and texts that teenagers come into contact with on a daily basis, via websites like Tumblr and Twitter, have a huge impact on the way in which they think and feel about life and themselves. Websites such as those previously stated confuse the meaning of words like depression, anxiety and self-harm with an almost beautiful suffering; when in reality there is nothing beautiful about hating oneself or being controlled by a voice inside your skull. Though it could be that those with depressive tendencies are drawn to this beautification of pain as an outlet, but it could just as easily be the exposure to negative thoughts and behaviors preying on the vulnerability of the targeted audience. However, there is always another side to every story. As well as impacting negatively on those exposed to these web pages there is a positive idea that those that suffer with low self esteem and lack satisfaction with their appearance or personality can regain confidence through sites such as Facebook and Snog in which a simple like on a selfie can increase their positive outlook on life or a while.
Who’s controlling your child’s world these days? I can almost guarantee that you have very little impact on anything but their physical well-being, as the media’s influence has taken over even the simple things like sitting on a bus; with the outside of it littered in painted advertisements and the inside papered with anything from the hottest new lipstick to the latest Starbucks concoction. It is not just your children relying on the media today though, is it? As the second you sign up for your Facebook account or set up your new smart phone you are attacked with news from around the world. A storm in Colorado or a two degree temperature change in London, you are going to know about it and in just a few moments. Now this can’t be a negative thing, can it? Knowing what is going on around you in the world is a joy to the average human; but when the internet connection is taken away and you notice the mood in the room drop, you realise that you are pretty much dependent on the media for happiness.
So far the media has influenced the way in which you perceive yourself and others, your mood and the way in which information is thrown at you. Maybe this global giant is taking over? Maybe it is becoming too influential? But maybe it isn’t and maybe it is a useful tool in our day to day lives? However, I know that if my Wi-Fi connection were to be cut off tomorrow, I would be reliant on the sympathy of my friends for access to Tumblr. Don’t lie, you would too.