As a girl in my late teens still trying to discover who I am, I’m fairly impressionable, right?
I used to think so, only when it came to other people’s opinions, which I’d unintentionally adopt in order to sound more knowledgeable about topics I knew absolutely nothing about.
When it came to TV however, I never really considered it to have an influence on me. I’d always wanted the elaborate stories that happened in my favourite shows to happen to me, which would make my life a lot more interesting, but I never went out of my way to make that dream a reality.
Which got me thinking, do most young people today have the same passive desires? Or is there a change in youth culture that’s constructing more of an active audience?
Growing up in the era of rapidly improving media and technology has significantly impacted the way my generation has developed. We are highly exposed to various forms of media, which makes the young people of today perhaps the most affected media audience. Still growing and developing whilst having regular access to the internet and social media is something that no other generation has experienced, giving the adults and parents of today’s youth extreme anxiety about the possible dangers of this behaviour.
One example of this parental anxiety is the MTV reality TV series, 16 and Pregnant.
The premise of this show scared the living daylights out of most parents, due to the fact that they think it glamourizes or encourages teen pregnancy. While this is true in some cases, as most of the girls end up becoming celebrities, it actually provides more of a negative snapshot of their lives; most of the girls end up as single mothers, others’ lives being ridden with domestic violence and drug use.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound that glamourous to me.
However, in today’s youth culture, the appealing part of the show isn’t the desire to get pregnant at a young age, it’s the fame that comes along with being on a reality show.
These kids are fame hungry.
Think of the amount of viral videos there are floating around of teenagers doing stupid things. The endless provocative posts on Instagram. The millions of tweets sent to idolised figures, in hopes of getting noticed. This is all part of their inner desire to see their follower and view count climb.
So parents today shouldn’t be scared of their kids falling pregnant due to some TV show (which has actually cause teen pregnancy rate to drop, by the way.) They should be scared of the active desire to get their 15 minutes of fame, which in itself is causing anxiety amongst teenagers, and the sometimes idiotic behaviour that is pursued in order to achieve it.
Effect of 16 and Pregnant: http://time.com/825/does-16-and-pregnant-prevent-or-promote-teen-pregnancy/