This goes without saying; the media plays a monumental role in shaping morals, values, and behaviors...

This goes without saying; the media plays a monumental role in shaping morals, values, and behaviors in our society. In this particular day in age, social media has rendered itself a very powerful socializing agent, especially in our youth. Adolescents are particularly susceptible and sensitive to the messages that the media "sends", thus becomes internalized and imprinted in the teenage psyche.

Look through some popular social media sites (i.e. Instagram, Snapchat, whatever other media outlet that's out there). Choose a celebrity or popular user page to scroll through. What values do their posts espouse? What do they "market" as beautiful, masculine, feminine, and ideal in our society?

Please discuss in two paragraphs how these images shape self-esteem and overall social-emotional development in adolescents. Be sure to identify which social media page you used OR describe the image or attach the image (make sure to include the web course) to your discussion AND explain why you chose it.

Homework Answers

Answer #1

It is an undisputable fact that most children and teenagers are spending maximum time on social media and social networking. This has profound impact on the way their conscience, morals, belief systems and values are created. For instance, many of the behaviours or ways of being may not be highly appreciated and acceptable by a family or sub-culture, but because they are highly normalised on the media, it may be adopted as acceptable or even desirable by the present generation. More worrying and concerning findings are suggestive of the fact that social media use can actually influence users’ personality and character. Recent research, for example, shown that there is a link between social media use and narcissism, and that the use of social networking websites may have an adverse effect on social decision making and reduce levels of empathy. This means that the impact is so profound that it is capable of creating new psychopathology in people. Moreover, many women are now a victim of the body image disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia which are a result of distorted self image, mostly created by unrealistic ideals prevailing in the society. They culminate usually from the profound social media impact that expects women to fit in a narrow frame that the society envisions for them. Social media not only exposes young girls to certain beauty standards and cultural ideals of womanhood, but emerging research shows it may contribute to the development of eating disorders and body dysmorphia, in females as well as males. This has infact been established by shocking statistics to support this argument. As many as 20 million American women and 10 million American men will experience an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime, and a large proportion of those affected are adolescents and teens. More than half of teenage girls and approximately 1/3 of teenage boys engage in eating disorder behaviors such as crash dieting, taking diet pills or laxatives, and self-induced vomiting. This in itself is highly worrying. Many bollywood, Hollywood, page 3 celebs and models tend to post pictures online of their holidays, workout routines, etc which are highly stalked by the youngsters as part of their fan craze. This impacts thereafter the way they view the society, themselves and creates a virtual lens of looking at the world, which is far from real. These unrealistic standards therefore create as much pressure to modify themselves and their ways of being to fit into this new ideal framework, which creates psychopathology or intolerable stress for many.

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