The average teen watches almost three hours of television per day, which exposes them to thousands of images of violence, sexuality and advertising, according to a 2001 article in the medical journal "Pediatrics." By the time today's teens are 70 years old, they will have watched between seven and 10 years worth of television during the course of their lives. The content and the amount of television that teens watch replaces other activities and could have a negative influence.
Seventy-five percent of teens try alcohol before they graduate from high school, according to the "Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine." Those who start drinking at a young age are more likely to suffer from illnesses, injure themselves or have to deal with alcohol abuse as adults. Alcohol use is commonly depicted in television shows and teens that watch these shows are more likely to begin drinking. The makers of alcoholic beverages invest about $1.7 billion per year on advertising, with many of these ads airing during shows that are popular with adolescents.
Television shows often give teens the idea that every teen in the country is having sex, which could lead to viewers feeling pressured into having sex themselves, suggests TeensHealth.org. The problem is that these shows are created by writers and producers to be exciting, not realistic. The characters in these shows do not have to deal with real problems such as teen pregnancy or the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Roughly 40 percent of women will become pregnant before they turn 20-years-old, according to HealthyChildren.org, and television shows rarely show the consequences that sex can create.
The average teen will have witnessed about 26,000 murders on television by the time he is 18 years old. In addition, a violent act is shown on television every six minutes, reports the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Teens who view violence on television frequently are more likely to react violently because they often lack empathy for others because of their exposure to this content. according to the association.
Teens who watch more than four hours of television per day are more likely to have a weight problem, according to KidsHealth.org. Much of this is because those who watch this much television are not out being active with their friends and burning calories. More than 17 percent of American teens are obese, which can lead to heart problems and some forms of cancer. These teens are also exposed to targeted fast food advertising, which has an influence on their nutritional habits.
- Pediatrics: Children, Adolescents, and Television
- Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine: Media Influence on Adolescent Alcohol Use
- TeensHealth: Virginity -- A Very Personal Decision
- HealthyChildren.org: Teenage Pregnancy
- National Association for the Education of Young Children: Violence in the Lives of Children
- KidsHealth: How TV Affects Your Child
- American Psychological Association: The Impact of Food Advertising on Childhood Obesity
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