We all know the media can be a great source for numerous types of information, good or bad.
Radio, TV, magazines, and the Internet can be efficient ways to increase one’s knowledge, yet in the American society today, the media also has many harmful effects on our way of life.
The specific negative factor I’m speaking of is self-image, especially among young teens that are easily influenced.
Being a high school student in today’s culture, it is easy to get caught up in the stress and fast paced world around us.
Relationships, extracurricular activities, school work, family life, and the upcoming pressure of stepping out on our own are just a few of the stressors that I know worry me everyday.
This also helps me to draw some conclusions as to why everyday teens turn to dieting, steroids, or developing dangerous eating disorders like the one’s we hear about.
These unhealthy ways of living can be the means of creating a detrimental cycle of low self-esteem for the rest of a person’s life and that is a scary thought.
When looking at a magazine, watching TV, searching the Web, or listening to the radio, not a day goes by that I don’t see or hear about a new trend or diet fad. These ads can be influential and make people think twice about their own image.
Many times when talking to a group of friends (girls or guys) topics about self-image are brought up
and whether it is weight, muscles, clothing size, or hair nobody ever seems satisfied in their own skin.
One female friend has even gone as far as telling me she wished to be as skinny as Mary-Kate Olsen or Lindsay Lohan (both of whom have known eating disorders). She claimed she liked how the two celebrities’ collar and sternum bones were well-defined when wearing a dress or low cut shirt.
This goes to show whether famous or from a small town in Alaska, media has a great deal of persuasion over young people in this day and age.
Even young males in school feel the pressure to fit a certain image when it comes to their bodies, especially in athletics.
In many sports, coaches are looking for the biggest as well as best, and some guys feel the need to turn to steroids to keep up with their competition.
They try steroids not knowing about the effects that can occur over a period of time. Some long-term effects, as stated in Yahoo! health, are liver tumors, jaundice, fluid retention, and high blood pressure.
Other side effects include shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness and even the development of breasts.
Although it is important to live a healthy lifestyle, America has enough problems without further infringing upon young people’s self-image.
Teens are a good place to start ending a damaging cycle because they are so easily influenced.
Like I said before, the media is a good source for learning, yet it is up to a person to be able to separate a healthy reality from the unattainable or ill advised.
Ashley Bell is a Senior at Soldotna High School.
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