Media Influences on Juvenile Delinquency

The film industry relies heavily on teens to keep it afloat, as 26 percent of movie tickets are sold to youths. In addition, teens watch about three hours of television per day on average, according to Pediatrics, which is the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics 2. This constant exposure to media also exposes teens to delinquent behavior, which they are likely to replicate as they consume more of the media's message.

Violent Acts

By the time he reaches his 18th birthday, the average teens views close to 26,000 murders and 200,000 violent acts on television. There is a violent act on television every six minutes, according to the website of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which can cause teens to lack empathy for other humans 4. In many cases, the hero in a television series or film will commit a violent act in the name of good. This portrays violence as acceptable, rather than something that teens should avoid.

Underage Drinking

Even if a film or television show does not show underage drinking, it can influence a teen's decision making. The consumption of alcohol appears in over 90 percent of modern movies, according to Pediatrics. A teen who views these movies frequently is five times more likely to start drinking at a young age than a teen who does not view this material. Advertising also influences teens to start drinking, as alcohol producers spend over $1.7 billion targeting customers. Many of these advertisements appear during television shows with a teenage audience, reports the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine website 25.

Illegal Drugs

Approximately 22 percent of modern films show a character consuming an illegal drug, according to Pediatrics. A teen who views this content is six times more likely to try a drug than a teen who is not exposed to this media. This drug use can also spark violence, as the website of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health suggests that teens who use drugs are 50 percent more likely to commit a violent act during the same year that they took the drug.

Underage Tobacco Use

Smoking cigarettes is common in R-rated movies, as roughly 90 percent of these films show at least one character engaging in this act. An additional 25 percent of R-rated movie previews or advertisements show a character smoking, which encourages teens to follow suit. Viewing these films increases a teen's chances of smoking by 50 percent. These films use cigarettes as an easy method of creating an anti-hero, which makes smoking look like a rebellious activity. Films, however, fail to show the long-term health effects of smoking.

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